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Grand Forks AFB Airman sentenced to prison for sexual assault

Posted 1/17/2014   Updated 1/17/2014 Email story   Print story

    


from 319th Air Base Wing Public Affairs Office

1/17/2014 - GRAND FORKS AIR FORCE BASE, N.D. -- An airman from Grand Forks Air Force Base was sentenced Monday to 34 years in prison for raping a woman in base housing in the early morning hours of Aug. 10, 2013.

Air Force military judge Col. Natalie Richardson also sentenced Senior Airman Jory Hodge to a dishonorable discharge, forfeiture of all pay and allowances and reduction to the rank of E-1 in the general court-martial. Hodge, 23, must also register as a sex offender.

Hodge will be required to serve 20 years of that sentence because he had a pre-trial agreement with the Air Force. In return for the sentence cap, Hodge had agreed to plead guilty to all charges he faced, including rape by threat or fear; sodomy; assault consummated by a battery; burglary; and communicating a threat.

Prosecutors called several witnesses to testify Monday.

According to testimony, Hodge had attended a party in on-base housing Aug. 9. He appeared intoxicated, but not serious enough to raise concern from those who knew him, according to testimony. "He was just being your average drunk guy," said one witness.

Later that night, Hodge left his home and drove to the on-base house of an airman who he knew was deployed, and climbed through the back window. He told the court Monday his intention was to have sex with the deployed airman's wife, even if it meant "without her consent."

The victim testified she thought she was having a nightmare when she woke to the shadowy figure standing above her in her bedroom. She said Hodge began punching her, and she begged him to stop.

"I thought he was going to kill me from the moment I saw him standing over my bed," she testified.

When Hodge left her house after the attack, she called for help, launching a base-wide search. Within days, investigators had identified Hodge as a suspect, and he was taken into custody. Officials testified DNA samples proved he was the attacker. Hodge remained in pre-trial confinement until the trial.

The victim's husband said he was devastated by the fact his wife was attacked while he was deployed. He said he believed the safest place for his family would be a military base where his fellow airman could look out for them.

The victim said she's still trying to deal with the impact of the attack, which affected her relationship with her husband and caused her to question her faith.

"I just want to move on with my life," she said.

Col. Paul Bauman, 319th Air Base Wing commander, stressed while the vast majority of Airmen serve with integrity and excellence, those who commit crimes must be held fully accountable for their actions.

"The Air Force is committed to preventing, deterring, and prosecuting sexual assault in its ranks," Bauman said Tuesday. "We must foster an environment of dignity and respect for all our Airmen and their families."



tabComments
2/26/2014 5:47:39 AM ET
The victim is my sister. She agreed to go with the plea deal for the initial sentence because if he had been sentenced to life he most likely would have only served about 10 years. This ensures that he serves longer. She is recovering still and trying to move on.
shonda, Fairbanks Alaska
 
2/8/2014 11:20:06 AM ET
20 years is a long time...but it really would have been nice to see him serve the full 34 year sentence.
Daryl, McChord AFB
 
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