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Rape charges dropped against Marine

Date Posted: 2008-03-01

A 38-year-old Marine staff sergeant arrested on suspicion of raping a young teenager February 10th has been released from Japanese jail and turned over to the U.S. military.
“He is in Marine Corps custody,” a Marine officer says. “They released him to us” after a decision was made by the Naha District Public Prosecutors Office to drop the charges. Japan’s Foreign Ministry confirms the action, saying police released Tyrone Luther Hadnott Friday night.
Hadnott had been held by Japanese police since being apprehended only hours after he allegedly raped a 14-year-old junior high school girl he met at Koza Music Town in Okinawa City. The girl had initially accepted a ride on Hadnott’s motorcycle, and he took her to his home in Kitanakagusuku. The Marine admitted from the outset he had forced the girl down and kissed her, but had denied raping her a few minutes later in his car near a Chatan Town park.
A Japanese ministry official says Hadnott was ordered released after the girl dropped her criminal complaint. Ryo Fukahori said the prosecutor’s office in Naha City then dropped the charges against Hadnott. The chief prosecutor in the Naha District Public Prosecutors Office announced “We’ve determined it is not appropriate to indict the suspect by applying charges, out of consideration for the victim’s feelings.”
Marine Corps Lieutenant Colonel Douglas Powell has told the media the Marines are still investigating, and noted it is “premature to speculate on any further legal action on our part.”
Hadnott’s arrest set off a rash of protests and anger across not only Okinawa, but also mainland Japan. In days after the alleged rape surfaced, other incidents against Marines, and a rape allegation levied against an Army sergeant, led the senior U.S. military commander on Okinawa, Lieutenant General Richard Zilmer, to order a lockdown of all military personnel, government civilians and contractors, and family members, restricting them to bases and a narrowly defined list of authorized off-base activities.
The Okinawa Prefecture Assembly, along with 28 of Okinawa’s 41 municipalities, passed protest resolutions demanding the U.S. military take stronger actions to control discipline among its forces. Yasuo Fukuda, Japan’s Prime Minister, called the incident “unforgivable”, while Condoleezza Rice, the U.S. Secretary of State, expressed deep regret over the incident during a Japan visit this week.
The military discipline incidents have fueled demands the military implement policies to prevent future problems, and led the mainland Japanese government to move toward new programs aimed at reducing crime through use of surveillance cameras and joint military and Japanese police patrols in areas frequented by GI’s. There have been calls from Japanese and Okinawan officials for the military to curb the number of military personnel living off base, and directives are now in place to provide the Japanese with numbers and other information on those living off-base. Hadnott, who is married but separated from his Japanese wife, had permission from the Marine Corps to live in the local community.

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