U.S. Air Force Member Went on the Run After Italian Gang Rape

·3 min read
Alessandro Garofalo/Reuters
Alessandro Garofalo/Reuters

A member of the U.S. Air Force stationed at a NATO base in Italy sexually assaulted an intoxicated teenager, then fled to the United States in an attempt to avoid a seven-year prison sentence, according to prosecutors.

Now, the government of Italy would like him back so he can be put behind bars.

Alexis Miguel Bodden was convicted by an Italian court in 2015 of aggravated gang rape, states an extradition request unsealed Tuesday in Philadelphia federal court. The origins of the case can be traced back to February 2, 2011, when Bodden, who was stationed at the Aviano Air Base at the time, “hosted M.G., a then 15- year-old and a 17-year-old, Andres Vasquez, at his apartment” in nearby Pordenone, Italy.

Bodden, 27, “provided M.G. with alcoholic drinks, and made sexual advances to her, which she rejected.” Vasquez, a Colombian national, had previously dated M.G., the extradition request explains.

“Once M.G. was intoxicated, Vasquez led M.G. to Bodden’s bedroom where he undressed her before the two had consensual sex,” the filing continues. “While Vasquez and M.G. were engaged in intercourse, Bodden entered the room, Vasquez stepped aside, and Bodden began raping M.G., ignoring her pleas to stop as well as her efforts to leave. While Bodden raped M.G., M.G. overheard Vasquez and Bodden laugh and discuss that she was drunk.”

After the attack was over, M.G. got dressed and left Bodden’s apartment, according to the filing, which says a witness found M.G. “on the street too drunk to stand and in distress.” The unnamed bystander told cops that M.G. was crying and shouting that she had been raped. M.G. was treated at a local hospital and filed a police report. She gave investigators Bodden’s name and address, explaining that she knew him because of his friendship with Vasquez, her ex-boyfriend.

The next day, Bodden was arrested by Italian police. He admitted to “having sex” with M.G. but insisted it was consensual.

“The court dismissed this defense as ‘groundless,’ finding that statements from the victim and individuals who were in contact with the victim immediately after the incident consistently contradicted Bodden’s version of events,” states the extradition request. “The court also found that Bodden’s conduct of inducing the minor victim to drink substantial quantities of alcohol represented an aggravating factor, leading to his conviction and sentence to seven years’ imprisonment.”

Bodden was represented at trial by a defense lawyer from the Aviano base, the filing says, noting that Bodden attended all of the proceedings through mid-May 2013. However, he never showed up to court again and was convicted in absentia.

Vasquez was convicted in 2019 for his participation in the rape, and sentenced to 32 months imprisonment plus another 26 months for a 2012 robbery conviction.

Bodden, now 38, was arrested in Allentown, Pennsylvania by the U.S. Marshals Service on Nov. 5. His court-appointed lawyer, Kathleen Gaughan, did not respond to The Daily Beast’s request for comment.

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