Marine Rape Accuser Changes Stance

MANILA, Philippines (AP) - A Filipino woman who accused a U.S.
Marine of rape has altered her testimony and emigrated to the
United States, saying she was no longer certain that a crime took
place, a lawyer said Wednesday.

The case has strained U.S.-Philippine military relations amid
calls for the scrapping of a pact allowing U.S. troops to train
Filipino soldiers, and has become a rallying point for
anti-American protests.

Three years after Lance Cpl. Daniel Smith was convicted of rape
and sentenced to 40 years in jail, his accuser submitted a
five-page affidavit to an appeals court Tuesday saying she now
doubts her own version of events.

"My conscience continues to bother me realizing that I may have
in fact been so friendly and intimate with Daniel Smith ... that he
was led to believe that I was amenable to having sex or that we
simply just got carried away," the woman said in the statement.

She described the two were drinking, kissing and dancing at a
bar at the former U.S. Naval base at Subic Bay before moving to a
van, where she originally told the court she was raped while she
passed out. Smith had insisted the sex was consensual.

The turnabout has shocked her supporters, including lawyer
Evalyn Ursua, who said her client terminated her services this week
then moved to the U.S. to start a new life and was no longer
willing to talk.

Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez said the affidavit may not be
admitted as new evidence because it should have been introduced
during the 2006 trial.

"I am not happy with her because her accusations divided the
nation, then she turns her back on everything," he said.

Smith, 23, from St. Louis, Missouri, has been detained at the
U.S. Embassy while his case is on appeal. Last month, the
Philippine Supreme Court ruled he should be serving his sentence in
a Philippine jail but left it to the government to negotiate his
transfer with Washington. Smith is appealing his conviction.


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