A Navy officer charged with attempted rape testified Wednesday in San Diego Superior Court that when his accuser said “no,” he thought that she actually meant, “keep going,” according to a news report.
Cmdr. John Michael Neuhart II, 40, the former commanding officer of the Guam-based Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 25, is facing charges of assault with intent to commit rape, burglary and resisting arrest, the San Diego Union-Tribute reported.
Under questioning from a prosecutor, Neuhart testified that it wasn’t until the victim yelled “stop!” and “get off!” that he understood her intent, according to the report.
“So there was no ‘opposite-world’ meaning to those words?” Deputy District Attorney Jennifer Tag asked him in court, according to the report.
“I believed it was all consensual between us. It made sense,” Neuhart testified, a statement Tag called “bizarre,” given the improbability of a prearranged foreplay agreement by a heavily intoxicated victim, according to the report.
Neuhart and the victim had been drinking at the Manchester Grand Hyatt hotel in San Diego, where security footage showed the victim struggling to stand up, according to the report.
The alleged incident occurred in September, according to the report.
On the witness stand, the married father of five said that prior to sharing a cab from the hotel to the victim’s house, he asked the intoxicated woman if she wanted a “safe word” for foreplay, to which she answered “no,” according to the report.
Neuhart testified that he understood that answer to be the victim’s chosen safe word, and that it should mean that she was feeling safe and he should continue what he was doing, according to the report.
The victim testified that she told Neuhart to leave her house, according to the report.
Police were called when a neighbor overheard the commotion, according to the report.
Neuhart could face life in prison if convicted of the most serious charge.
J.D. Simkins is a writer and editor for Military Times, and a USMC veteran.