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Rape claim levied against Okinawa-based soldier

Date Posted: 2008-02-22

A Filipina woman has accused a U.S. Army soldier of raping her over the President’s Day holiday weekend, and American military authorities have taken a GI into custody.
The soldier is being detained while an investigation unfolds on the woman’s allegations, that the soldier raped her early Monday. Okinawa Prefectural Police are questioning the woman, as well as others they say may have pertinent information on her claims. The Filipina woman says she went to a hospital for a medical examination immediately after being raped.
As the latest rape allegations leaked out Thursday, SOFA-status personnel already restricted to their bases and off-base residences over an alleged rape involving a 38-year-old Marine and a 14-year-old junior high school girl, a Marine arrested on counterfeiting charges, another Marine arrested for breaking and entering a Nago City area residence, and yet another Marine apprehended for drunk driving, reacted angrily. All personnel covered by the U.S.~ Japan Status of Forces Agreement were restricted on Wednesday in Okinawa, Iwakuni and Fuji for an indefinite period.
Okinawa Prefectural Police Chief Hachiro Tokutsu says a warrant for the soldier’s arrest will be issued soon. He says the suspect has already voluntarily talked to police, and that his officers are working closely with the U.S. military on the case, and they “are fully cooperating.”
Tokutsu says the alleged rape occurred at a hotel in Okinawa City early Monday. The police chief also noted the woman has been hospitalized as a result of the incident, during which she was injured.
The U.S. Army has only said they are checking, and that commanders are fully aware of what is happening.
The Commanding General, III Marine Expeditionary Force, who serves as the Okinawa Area Coordinator, initiated the bases lockdown at 7:30 a.m. Wednesday. Lt. Gen. Richard C. Zilmer had earlier ordered a stand-down from duty last week following the first rape incident, and directed mandatory disciplinary and cultural awareness sensitivity training for all personnel. The drunk driving, trespassing and counterfeiting incidents took place after the required training. Zilmer’s restriction and curfew order was accompanied by direction Friday be taken as a “Day of Reflection” by all personnel. He has not given any hint as to when the lockdown may be lifted.
The latest rape allegations are gaining international media attention, further fueling the uneasiness on Okinawa, where several demonstrations have already been staged to protest the seeming lack of discipline by U.S. troops. Twenty-eight of Okinawa’s 41 municipalities have lodged protest resolutions, as has the Okinawa Prefecture Assembly.
The U.S. Ambassador to Japan, Thomas Schieffer, and the commander of all U.S. Forces in Japan, Lt. Gen. Bruce Wright, have already traveled to Okinawa for discussions with Governor Hirokazu Nakaima. Lt. Gen. Zilmer has also met with the governor and other Okinawa officials.

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