Sailor said she was raped by fellow sailor; angry by verdict

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Christine Sapp, after serving five years in the U.S. Navy is now undergoing an administrative separation from the service.

Sapp has spent the last two years fighting for justice; she said she was raped by a fellow sailor. She said it happened at an off-base housing complex.

But, the justice she was looking for has eluded her, much to her surprise.


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"It was a shock," she said. "I think that was the general feeling throughout the courtroom."

The case was brought before a military court; it was an seven member jury, all male. Sapp maintains that she said no to her attacker but that did not stop him.

"No means no, that's federal law. That's what it is," she said.

She talked briefly about the case and the court hearing from her Orange Park home Friday.

"There were key points that were not discussed when I was on the stand," she said. "The biased jury even if it had heard it could have changed the outcome."

She said the jury was all men, no women, not even men under thirty years of age and she and her prosecuting team had no choice in picking the jurors.

"The process is faulted, the support is faulted," she said. "There's a rape culture and it is faulted and that needs to change."

She said part of that culture is to discredit the victim as much as possible; make any failures of the past relative the the present allegation.

Sapp celebrated her 23rd birthday on August 28. She expected the defense to attack her character, but did not expect the jury to return a not guilty verdict. She said it was a hard pill to swallow on her birthday.

"I can't believe there was a reasonable doubt," she said, "I can't believe it."

She said she will use her experience to continue to fight to change the rape culture.

"I should never be scared going on base, I should never be scared going to the store because I came forward," said Sapp.

She can file a complaint in a civilian court because the incident happened off base. She is in the process of being discharged from the Navy and said she has a lot to do.

"Because I was not perfect, he was found not guilty, that is not right," she said. "I am a wife, I am a mother, I am an aunt, I am a sister, I am any one of them."


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