A two-day jury trial is set to begin at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday for an Arlington man charged with rape in what prosecutors describe as a consensual bondage-themed sexual encounter that escalated out of control.
Benjamin R. Senter, 49, faces a single felony charge of rape. Senter pleaded not guilty to the charge in July after a grand jury in June upheld a direct indictment against Senter.
He was freed on a $50,000 secured bond following his arrest June 22.
At a May bond hearing, Circuit Court Judge John G. Barry stipulated that Senter had to surrender his passport, adhere to a curfew and travel for work-related purposes only. The judge also imposed an unusual condition, stipulating that Senter may not participate in any sexual fetish or bondage-related activities while awaiting trial.
A retired Air Force Master Sergeant, Senter worked for the Defense Intelligence Agency at Bolling Air Force Base at the time of his arrest.
At the May hearing, Senter’s defense attorney, John Spencer of Fredericksburg, told the court that Senter and the alleged female victim met through a sexual fetish website in 2003.
Since that time, Spencer said Senter and the unidentified woman met for about a dozen encounters that involved consensual bondage, discipline, dominance and submission.
But during an encounter on April 2, prosecutors told the court that the role-playing escalated out of control. They say the woman told authorities that despite telling him to stop, Senter disregarded a “safe word”, a word or phrase used to immediately stop the role-playing. The woman says Senter hit her with a cane, bit her and dragged her by the hair.
The defense acknowledged that the woman confronted Senter about the incident the following morning. But Spencer told the court in May that Senter sincerely thought the matter was resolved after he apologized to her in person and later through a text message.