Gloucester jury acquits Fort Eustis soldier of rape
A Gloucester Circuit Court jury found a 24-year-old Fort Eustis soldier not guilty Tuesday of raping a Gloucester resident while a guest in her home last Thanksgiving. Seth David Lemasters pleaded not guilty to the rape charge and was acquitted after a panel of six women and five men deliberated 45 minutes.
Lemasters’ 51-year-old accuser said she drove to pick up her 26-year-old nephew and his friend, Lemasters, both assigned to Ft. Eustis, to bring them to her Gloucester home for Thanksgiving on Nov. 25. It was Lemasters’s first visit to her residence.
In testimony, the accuser said they joined her live-in girlfriend and a small gathering of friends and neighbors for an afternoon of drinking and playing games before Thanksgiving dinner. Most departed after the meal and by late evening only the accuser, her nephew and Lemasters remained at the home, still enjoying drinks and each other’s company.
Lemasters became intoxicated, the accuser said, and had to be helped to a guest room by her nephew around 11 p.m. The nephew said he left Lemasters laid out fully clothed on the bed in the room and joined his aunt for a late dessert. The two then retired for the night, the accuser to her bedroom and her nephew to a second guest room.
The accuser said she took her required medications and went to sleep, then awoke about an hour later to find Lemasters on top of her and having sexual intercourse with her. She said she pushed him away, flipped on a light and ran to her nephew’s room. She woke her nephew, telling him Lemasters had raped her and that she wanted him out of the house.
After a scuffle among the three, the accuser said she and her nephew managed to push Lemasters outside as she called 911. Lemasters left the residence on foot but was apprehended by Gloucester Sheriff’s deputies a short time later.