According to a report by Stars & Stripes, the assault took place at a dorm party on May 4, 2018, at the Ramstein Air Base in Ramstein-Miesenbach, Germany. The unidentified victim testified to drinking eight to nine cups of “jungle juice,” an alcoholic beverage consisting of rum, vodka, tequila, gin and Hawaiian Punch, and becoming extremely intoxicated. Hickman, 20, was also drinking at the party and was one of several airmen who helped carry the intoxicated victim into his room.
The victim was left in his room on his bed, and his door was left slightly open so that his fellow airmen could keep an eye on him, court testimony claimed. When the victim woke up the next day, he felt pain after trying to use the bathroom and ended up seeking medical advice at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, Stars & Stripes reported. Bodily fluids, verified by DNA testing as belonging to Hickman, were found on the victim.
Security footage from the hallway outside the victim’s room shows Hickman entering the victim’s room again and closing the door, after first leaving the room with the other airmen who helped the victim to his room. Nineteen minutes later, after sexually assaulting the victim, Hickman is seen departing the room, leaving the door slightly cracked as he found it, with a PlayStation video game console under his arm.
A military judge at Ramstein found Hickman guilty of both sexual assault and larceny. His punishment also includes a dishonorable discharge and a directive to “forfeit all pay and allowances,” Stars & Stripes reported. Hickman will also have to register as a sex offender.
While the defense described the incident as “two young men” who were “experimenting” after drinking heavily, also noting that the victim might have consented to the sexual act while severely intoxicated, the court deemed that scenario unlikely.
“This is worse than facing an attacker in the bushes,” prosecutor Maj. Matthew Tusing said, Stars & Stripes reported. “He couldn’t even fight back.”
“He [Hickman] does not knock,” Tusing added. “He walks right in. They are strangers. When he left, he left with the lights off and the door cracked,” the prosecutor said, also noting that Hickman knew the victim was “passed out when he arrived; he knew he was passed out when he left.”
In a statement before Air Force Judge Lt. Col. Christina Jimenez, Hickman apologized for his actions.“My intent was to make sure [the victim] was okay,” he admitted tearfully. “After arriving there, I made poor choices.”
The victim also described his experiences with anxiety and insomnia after the assault.
“I will never outlive, outgrow or forget this incident,” he said.