DENVER
09/20/2012 07:30 pm ET | Updated Sep 20, 2012

Noel Bertrand, Accused DIA Rapist Said He Was Trying To Protect Woman From Public Indecency Charge

The accused Denver International Airport rapist told jurors today that he did not tell detectives about a note that was allegedly written by his accuser in an effort to protect her from a public indecency charge.

The sexual assault trial of former Marine Noel Bertrand, 27, began earlier this week on Tuesday. Bertrand is accused of raping a 22-year-old woman last year in an empty concurse at DIA. He faces a Class 3 felony assault charge that could lead to him spending life in prison. The two met at the airport when both missed their flights and the woman decided to spend the night in the airport because she did not have money to go to a motel. She had been on her way to an Illinois convent.

On Tuesday, the alleged victim, now 23, took the stand and recalled Bertrand telling her that she was his "sex slave" before forcing her onto the ground and raping her:

He kept his hands around the drawstrings so I was unable to breathe. I was starting to cry and I couldn’t move. He kept telling me I was going to learn pleasure from pain. Every time I tried to move he kept hitting my head on the ground.

The courtroom was also shown photographs of bruises on the woman's face. She told jurors that she hadn't screamed because she was having an asthma attack and was being choked.

On Thursday, Bertrand took the stand and argued that the two had simply been having rough, consensual sex and that the alleged victim regretted it later. He claimed that the woman had passed him a note that read "I'm not wearing any panties," and offered him oral sex, but when he was asked about the note, he testified that she still had it and that he hadn't told detectives about the note because he wanted to protect her from receiving an indecency charge.

The alleged assault was interrupted by two aircraft mechanics who said shortly after the incident that they thought something was wrong when they saw her hair flipping up and described it as looking "like something was being stuffed into a suitcase."

A surveillance tape from where the alleged sexual assault took place was released, but doesn't show the attack.

When the mechanics yelled at Bertrand to stop they said Bertrand responded that they "don't know the difference between rough sex and fighting."

Bertrand testified that at the time, he only expected to receive a public indecency charge.

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