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Alleged rape victim’s mom wants new investigation

Date Posted: 2008-06-21

An American soldier was accused of raping a 22-year-old Filipina bar worker at an Okinawa City hotel in February, but Japanese prosecutors dropped the charges saying there was insufficient evidence.
Army sergeant Ronald Hopstock Jr., was accused of meeting the Filipina at the Mermaid Club on Okinawa City’s Park Avenue, then later taking her to the Hotel New Century, where he allegedly raped her. Okinawa City Police and the Naha District Prosecutor’s Office investigated the allegations against the 25-year-old soldier assigned to Kadena Air Base, but concluded in April there wasn’t enough evidence to bring formal charges against him.
The rape charges came after the woman was taken to a hospital from the hotel the next day. Hopstock, who is restricted to base at Kadena pending a military investigation, told Okinawa police he did not rape the girl, telling them he paid the bartender at the Mermaid Club to take her out of the entertainment club for the purpose of having sex with her.
The Filipina girl remains in Okinawa, but her mother in Manila has issued an appeal to the Philippine government for help. The mother is asking officials in Manila “not to abandon my child”, and is asking for another investigation. “I felt like I was going to die when I heard what happened to my daughter,” the mother told news media in Manila. Identified only as Melly, she pleaded to reporters “I call on everyone to support my daughter. She doesn’t want to come home because she wants to fight.”
The women’s group Gabriela Women’s Party is demanding action on behalf of the Filipina dancer, calling the alleged rape “a showcase of government neglect and of lopsided foreign military relations that the Philippines refuses to stand up against. In Manila, a group of 52 female members of the Philippines House of Representatives issued a call for the government to push for a trial for Hopstock.
Claro Cristobal, a Foreign Affairs spokesperson for the Philippine government, says there’s little government interest in the case, but added a lawyer has been hired to pursue the case with American military authorities in Okinawa.

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