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Navy chief sentenced to 5 years for attacking S. Korean woman

SEOUL — A U.S. Forces Korea chief petty officer was sentenced last week to five years in prison for attacking a South Korean woman outside her Itaewon apartment last fall.

The Seoul Central District Court identified the 35-year-old man as Chief Petty Officer Christopher Wayne Chatman. The U.S. military refused to confirm the man’s identity because he was tried in a South Korean court, but released a statement that said, “This behavior does not reflect the high standards of conduct expected of U.S. servicemembers.”

According to USFK and Commander Naval Forces Korea, Chatman was convicted Feb. 13 of indecent assault resulting in bodily injury of a South Korean citizen. In addition to his prison sentence, he must complete a 40-hour treatment program for sexual violence offenders.

According to sentencing documents, Chatman followed a 19-year-old South Korean woman to her apartment shortly around 12:30 a.m. last Sept. 10, grabbed her from behind, covered her eyes with his hands and pulled her to the ground. The woman was walking up the stairs and hit her head several times on the rail as she fell.

He ran away after the woman’s parents heard her screaming and came out of the apartment. The victim sustained neck and back injuries that were expected to take three weeks to heal, according to sentencing documents.

Chatman was identified based on descriptions from the victim, three witnesses and closed-circuit television footage that showed him following the woman into the apartment complex.

However, the chief petty officer told the court that he had been misidentified and someone else had attacked the woman. He also said he had recently arrived in South Korea and was lost and entered the wrong apartment complex.

Chatman remains in custody at the Seoul Detention Center, but will be transferred to another confinement facility if he loses appeals to his conviction, according to a court judge and spokesperson.

rowland.ashley@stripes.com

chang.yookyong@stripes.com
 

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