Peace Corps: Sailor accused of raping teacher in Uganda

Posted April 23, 2011 by Ugandan Diaspora News Team in Featured ~ 3,484 views


By Bill Sizemore | The Virginian-Pilot | A sailor working in a support role for Virginia Beach-based Navy SEALs has been accused of raping a Peace Corps volunteer in Uganda.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Camaren Walker faced a preliminary hearing Thursday and Friday to determine whether there is sufficient evidence to prosecute him in a court-martial. A decision is expected in a few weeks.

This week’s proceeding at Norfolk Naval Station, called an Article 32 hearing, featured graphic and emotional testimony from Walker’s accuser, a 26-year-old woman who teaches at a girls’ school in a remote town in northern Uganda.

The Virginian-Pilot does not identify alleged victims of sexual assault.

The incident is alleged to have occurred in November in Kampala, the Ugandan capital, while Walker, a builder, was assigned to a construction project for a SEAL team.

Navy spokesmen would not say this week what the secretive sea-air-land commandos were doing in the African country.

Walker’s accuser testified that what began as a consensual sexual encounter in Walker’s hotel room turned violent after she insisted that he use a condom. He reluctantly did so, she said, but after it came off twice, she asked him to stop. Instead, he forced himself on her, she said.

“I tried to get away and couldn’t,” she said. “The next thing I know, there’s a hand around my neck.”

Walker was choking her, pinning her head to the mattress and making it difficult to breathe, she said.

“I was very fearful of my life,” she said.

Walker forced himself on her three more times over the course of the night, each time without a condom, she testified. On one of those occasions, he followed her into the shower and again choked her during the sex act, pinning her head against the shower wall with his arm, she said.

“I didn’t want to be choked again, so I let him have his way,” she said. “I silently took it. I just wanted him to be done.”

Over three hours of testimony, the accuser avoided eye contact with Walker, who sat ramrod-straight at the defense table in a crisp white uniform. He did not testify.

The accuser met Walker while bar-hopping with three other young women, all Peace Corps volunteers, on a weekend visit to Kampala, according to testimony. The three other women testified for the defense, two of them by telephone from Uganda. They said the accuser flirted with Walker, seemed to enjoy his company, and went willingly with him to his hotel.

One of them described the accuser as conservative and very religious.

The accuser testified that she was active in a Christian club in college and later worked in Kolkata, India, as a volunteer for Mother Teresa’s charity.

At one point during the evening in Kampala, the conversation turned to how long it had been since each of the four women had had sex. It was determined that Walker’s accuser had been abstinent the longest – two years. That led to a consensus that she should pair up with him for the night.

“The girls decided I needed it the most,” the accuser testified. “They kept pressuring me.”

She now feels betrayed by her friends, she said.

“To them, this was just a game,” she said. “To them, a one-night stand is something you do for fun. They saw it as this night of passion, and it was anything but that.”

She acknowledged that for two days, she told no one she had been assaulted.

“I was in shock and denial,” she said. “I had never been with an abusive man. I had never been traumatized like that before.”

It was only when she went to a Peace Corps medical officer that the whole story came out, she testified. She was seeking the “morning after” contraceptive pill and a drug that reduces the risk of acquiring the AIDS virus.

After she had recounted the details of what she called her “night of hell,” she said, the medical officer asked her: “Were you raped?”

Until that moment, “I hadn’t thought of it that way,” she said. “I thought rape is something that happens to someone else.”

Walker’s defense attorneys suggested that the Peace Corps pushed the accuser to bring charges because of political pressure.

An audit last year by the Peace Corps Office of Inspector General faulted the agency for multiple lapses in its safety and security procedures, and several media reports have focused on sexual assaults on volunteers. In January, a congressional oversight committee announced plans for hearings.

If Walker is court-martialed and convicted of the most serious charges, he faces a range of possible penalties up to life in prison and death.

Bill Sizemore, (757) 446-2276,

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Ugandan Diaspora News Team

Ugandan Diaspora News Online is an independent, non political news portal primarily aimed at serving Ugandans who work and reside outside Uganda. Our aim is to be a one stop shop for everything Ugandan and the celebration of our Ugandan heritage.


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