Court-Martial in Fort Carson Gang Rape Case Begins

by Braxton Taylor

The court-martial of a Fort Carson private accused of rape started Monday with the victim taking the stand to recount how she believes the man and two other soldiers assaulted her.

Pvt. 1st Class Stedman Bell, a military police officer, is the second man to face a court-martial over an alleged assault that took place during May 2021. During a previous court-martial, Spc. Mariano Rosendo was found guilty of assaulting the woman, a civilian, who was 21 at the time.

The woman was called to testify to recount again how she went home with her boyfriend, Spc. Gonzalo Michael Perez, a military police officer, after drinking with friends and the alleged crimes that followed.

The woman said she was a bit tipsy, but she was able to make decisions. When she went up to Perez’s bedroom she intended to have sex with him and no one else.

When Bell, Perez’s housemate, first entered the room, she asked Perez to make him leave.

“I said ‘Tell him to get out,” she recalled, during the trail.

Speaking in Bell’s defense, Capt. Brandon Stumpf said the woman participated in the sexual activity and never told Bell “no.” He noted she had handprints on her buttocks found during a sexual assault exam that she could have only gotten if she was changing positions and participated.

The woman said it was true she did not scream or fight back after Bell started having sex with her because she was scared.

“I already told him to get out and he didn’t care,” she said.

So she just lay there, at times pretending to be asleep, she said. Later, Rosendo joined in, forcing his penis into her mouth.

Perez took photos of the two men having sex with her that the judge admitted into evidence.

Afterward, Perez also had unwanted sex with the woman, she said.

When he fell asleep, she went into the bathroom and called her friends to pick her up. She then went outside and hid behind a neighbor’s car until four of her friends came to get her. Three of them went to the door to confront the men, but she did not see the exchange. Bell is accused of pointing a loaded gun at the group.

After the group left Perez’s home, she reported the assault to the police and went to the hospital for an exam.

Later this week, the military judge is expected to decide whether Bell is guilty or not and sentence him if necessary.

A judge sentenced Rosendo to 12 months in prison, a reduction in rank down to private and a dishonorable discharge.

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