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Soldier going to courts martial on rape charges

Date Posted: 2008-12-05

The US Army has opted to courts martial a soldier accused of raping a Filipino woman last February, despite a decision by Japanese officials not to prosecute the case because of insufficient evidence.

Army investigators launched their own investigation into the alleged rape by Army Specialist Ronald Hopstock, who was accused by the Filipino bar worker of raping her in an Okinawa City hotel room. Japanese police and the Naha District Prosecutorís Office investigated the case, then dropped it in May without even arresting Hopstock.

The 25-year-old Hopstock will go to courts martial in February, according to Army spokeswoman Amanda Kraus. She did not announce specifics of the date or trial location. In addition to rape, Hopstock is charged with sodomy, soliciting a prostitute and disobeying a lawful order. Army officials say the three charges are unrelated to the rape charge.

The court martial will be the third high visibility trial involving U.S. military personnel within the last year. A 38-year-old Marine staff sergeant accused of raping a 14-year-old Okinawa middle school student in February was convicted of lesser charges by the military after Japanese authorities dropped the case without prosecution.

Tyrone Hadnott was sentenced to four years in prison after the Marine Corps court martialed him in May, finding him guilty of lesser charges.
In Iwakuni, in southwestern Japan, four Marines were convicted of assaulting a woman in Hiroshima. The four were sentenced to prison earlier this year in conjunction with the 2007 gang assault against the woman.

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