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U.S. Army Reservist charged with attempted rape
A U.S. Army Reserve private first class arrested in Maryland on Wednesday is wanted in York County on two counts of attempted rape, the Springettsbury Police Department said.
The incident took place between 11:30 p.m. and midnight June 4 at the U.S. Army Reserve Center at 605 Arsenal Road in Springettsbury Township, according to the charging documents.
Pfc. Jordan Keith-Amatae Lawrence, 21, of Hagerstown, Maryland, admitted to Army investigators he intended to have sex with two female reservists while they were sleeping. The documents said Lawrence made the confession after first saying he only intended to fondle the women's breasts.
Lawrence is charged with two counts each of attempted rape of an unconscious victim, attempted sexual assault, attempted indecent assault without the consent of another and attempted indecent assault of a person unconscious.
Authorities in Maryland confirmed Thursday that Lawrence is in custody.
Alleged attempt: According to charging documents, Lawrence was among a group of reservists in town for duty the weekend of June 4 and 5, and some of them decided to spend the night at the reserve center rather than pay for hotel rooms. The men and women of the company divided themselves into separate sleeping areas — as instructed by U.S. Army policy — and turned in for the night about 11:30 p.m. Two of the women placed their cots near each other in a conference room for privacy.
Shortly after 11:30 p.m., one of the women was awakened by the sound of the other woman's cot scraping across the floor. The cot, placed in front of the door by the sleeping reservist, was preventing someone from entering the room. The women woke up and began talking to each other, trying to figure out what was going on, before the door was pulled shut from the outside, the documents said.
According to the documents, a minute later, with the lights on and with both female reservists fully awake, a figure appeared outside the window of the conference room, and the would-be intruder tried unsuccessfully to pry open the window. One of the women later told police she recognized the figure as Lawrence, having just met him for the first time earlier that day. Lawrence, she said, had volunteered to help her and her bunkmate set up their cots. She described Lawrence as "weird" and said she got an odd feeling about him.
The other female reservist described her first meeting with Lawrence much the same way when speaking with investigators following the incident, the documents said.
A short time after the figure fled from the window, there came a knock at the conference room door. The women, who had since armed themselves with a metal pole, had been working out a plan to leave the room to get a phone list posted nearby that had the numbers of senior ranking officers whom they might be able to call for help. The person knocking at the door, however, identified himself as Pfc. Lawrence, the documents said.
According to the documents, Lawrence told the women he saw their light was on and came to check on them. The women asked Lawrence to slip the phone list under the door; he complied and left. The women immediately called a sergeant on the phone list. Lawrence did not come back again that night, and the women did not speak to him the next day, the documents said.
Preliminary investigation: In an interview with Army investigators, Lawrence was first read his Miranda rights and then admitted to trying to enter the sleeping quarters of the two female reservists, the documents said. Lawrence initially stated he had a "lapse in judgement" and that he only intended to "touch their breasts," according to the documents.
Lawrence later stated that if he had gotten into the room, he "would have had sex with them while they were sleeping," the documents said. He said he "had an urge," and the only thing that stopped him from acting on his urges was the "discipline instilled in him" by his parents and during basic training.
The Army investigators who interviewed Lawrence before turning him over to the Springettsbury Township Police also provided the officers with still photographs from security cameras outside the reserve center building where the incident took place that allegedly show Lawrence at the window of the conference room in which the women were sleeping. The photos are time-stamped at just after midnight on the morning of June 5.
Military background: U.S. Army Reserve Public Affairs Capt. Eric Connor, of Ft. Bragg, N.C., confirmed Lawrence joined the reserves in September 2015 and completed basic training before going on to AIT — advanced individual training — where he learned to do his job.
"He spent eight weeks, so two months, in school," Connor said.
Lawrence received training as a culinary specialist and was assigned as a food service specialist to the 254th Quartermaster Company, which provides logistical support to other units when deployed.
Connor said Lawrence is listed as a "traditional reservist," meaning he reports to his company in York one weekend a month and for two weeks each summer. He added that the allegations against Lawrence are in no way in line with the Army's standards or teachings.
"These allegations are not within Army values. I know the investigation is still in the early stages, but it definitely doesn't fall within the realm of what the Army teaches or believes in," Connor said.
He added that the Army cooperates fully with any legal investigation, whether conducted by local law enforcement, its own military police or CID, the Army's Criminal Investigation Command.
"We are in full cooperation with local law enforcement," Connor said. "So whatever they they need from our end of the investigation, we will give them everything."
Springettsbury police: Sgt. Stefan Kochansky said Springettsbury Township patrol officers were called by Army investigators after the victims and Lawrence were interviewed. There was some discussion over jurisdiction, but a call to the York County District Attorney's Office cleared that up.
"We consulted with the DA's office about that. They contacted the Army, and whenever they spoke they said there is no issue with our charging (Lawrence) locally," Kochansky said.
A warrant for Lawrence's arrest was obtained Tuesday, and Springettsbury Township detectives began working with law enforcement in Maryland and the Army to try to get Lawrence to turn himself in. On Thursday morning it, was announced that Lawrence had been taken into custody.