Airman indicted for alleged drunken disturbance on Okinawa
By TRAVIS J. TRITTEN AND CHIYOMI SUMIDA | STARS AND STRIPES Published: December 5, 2012
CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — Japanese prosecutors indicted an Okinawa airman Wednesday for a drunken disturbance in which he allegedly barged into a Japanese apartment, punched a teen in the face and damaged a television last month.
Senior Airman Matthew L. Haist, 24, who is stationed on Kadena Air Base, is charged with inflicting bodily injury and vandalism for the incident, a spokesman for the Naha district prosecutor’s office said. A charge of trespassing was dropped because prosecutors determined Haist was too intoxicated to know he was in a stranger’s home.
Meanwhile in a separate case, a Marine arrested on Thanksgiving for climbing the drainpipe of a local building to practice backflips will not be charged by Japanese authorities, the spokesman said.
The two cases are among a string of off-base incidents that have ratcheted up tensions in Japan following the alleged gang-rape of an Okinawan woman by two sailors in October.
The military has imposed a Japan-wide curfew in an effort to keep troops off the streets at night, and all forces stationed on Okinawa have been barred from drinking alcohol outside base gates.
Haist is accused of drinking heavily in a bar near his home on Nov. 2, in violation of the 11 p.m.-5 a.m. curfew. He allegedly entered an apartment in the building where he hit the sleeping teen — who needed medical treatment for his injuries — damaged a television and then fell from a third-floor window, the prosecutor’s office said.
Earlier this month, he formally apologized to the apartment residents.
Haist will remain in U.S. custody while waiting for his case to be heard in Japanese court, according to the prosecutor’s office.
Pfc. Gregory James Carson II, 20, was picked up by Japanese police near Camp Courtney on the afternoon of Nov. 24 after a call from a concerned neighbor who spotted him climbing a public building.
Police reported no damage and said Carson was not drinking alcohol during the incident.
The prosecutor’s office said Wednesday that officials believe there was no malicious intent by Carson, so no charges will be pursued.