A U.S. Navy serviceman was found not guilty Monday of sexually assaulting a prostitute at a brothel while on shore leave in Australia's biggest city.
A New South Wales District Court jury cleared Petty Officer Timothy Davis, 25, of a charge of sexual intercourse without consent, with the aggravating factor of causing the woman actual bodily harm. The charge carries a sentence of up to 20 years in prison.
Davis was one of 3,000 Marines and Navy personnel on shore leave in Sydney after the amphibious assault ship USS Peleliu and guided missile destroyer USS Halsey arrived in the port in October, 2008.
The woman told the court she had protected, consensual sex with Davis at the brothel where she worked, but said he became aggressive when she told him his time was up and forced her to have unprotected sex. The jury was shown police photographs of scratches on the woman.
Davis denied forcing the woman to have sex, but admitted in court that he used a "lock down maneuver" to pin her to the bed when she said she wanted to stop. He told the court he backed off when she kicked him, though he said he muffled her mouth with his hand when she began to scream after he demanded his money back.
Laws regarding prostitution vary between states in Australia. Brothels are legal in New South Wales.
Davis made no comment to reporters following the verdict, but his attorney, Sam Macedone, said Davis was very happy with the outcome.
"He is glad it's over," Macedone said. "It has been very stressful for him."
Davis, who has been free on bail, plans to return to San Diego, Macedone said.