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Police turn rape case over to prosecutors

Date Posted: 2002-12-07

(Kyodo) Police turned over to prosecutors Monday their case against a U.S. Marine Corps major suspected of attempting to rape a Philippine woman in Okinawa Prefecture last month and destroying her mobile phone so she couldn't report the assault.

Okinawa Prefectural Police determined that Maj. Michael Brown, 39, based at Camp Courtney in Gushikawa in the prefecture, tried to rape the woman on Nov. 2, police sources said. Brown has denied trying to rape the woman and told investigators she asked him to have sex with her, other police sources said earlier in the day.

He submitted himself for questioning by Japanese police on Dec. 4 and told investigators the woman got angry and filed the case after he refused her advances, the sources said. Brown admitted destroying the woman's mobile phone, police said earlier. However, an investigation by Japanese police determined he repeatedly tried to have sex with her, the sources said.

Police obtained an arrest warrant for Brown on Dec. 3 and asked the U.S. military to hand him over. But two days later, the United States refused to hand him over before indictment. Brown will be transferred to the custody of the Japanese authorities should the Naha District Public Prosecutor's Office charge him. Under the bilateral status-of-forces agreement, the U.S. military is not required to hand over criminal suspects to Japanese authorities unless they are indicted.

According to police, Brown, who had been drinking on base Nov. 2, asked the woman, whom he had just met that day, to give him a lift in her car to his home off base. Shortly after they left, he instructed her to park on a deserted road and allegedly tried to rape her, police said. The woman fought back and fled from the vehicle, but returned after a while, when Brown once again attempted to rape her, they said. During this time, Brown destroyed the woman's cellular phone in an effort to prevent her from reporting the incident, according to police. The woman, however, reported the incident to the U.S. military police, who then informed the Okinawa Prefectural Police.

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