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Soldier charged with rape, placed in South Korean custody

SEOUL – South Korean police charged a U.S. soldier Tuesday with rape and larceny for allegedly attacking a 17-year-old South Korean girl in her residence on Sept. 17, following a night of drinking in Seoul.

Pvt. Kevin Robinson, 21, who is stationed at U.S. Army Garrison Yongsan, was transferred to South Korean custody upon his arrest, according to a member of the Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office.

While not confirming the soldier’s name, U.S. 8th Army spokesman Col. Andrew Mutter said the suspect was transferred to the custody of South Korean authorities, and they have “complete control of investigation, prosecution and punishment of the servicemember.”

According to South Korean police, Robinson was introduced to the girl by a friend while they were drinking on the night of Sept. 16 in the popular entertainment district of Hongdae. Around 4:15 a.m on Sept. 17, he accompanied the girl to her goshitel, or dormitory-style boarding house. He left, but returned around 5:45 a.m, at which time the police say he raped her when she was too drunk to resist and stole her laptop worth 1 million won, or approximately $887, police said.

Robinson has claimed he and the girl had consensual sexual relations, but not intercourse, police said. However, physical evidence recovered at the scene confirmed that she had intercourse, police said. In addition, they said, closed-circuit television footage showed Robinson leaving her residence with a laptop.

A prosecutor with the Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office said the girl was a virgin and was therefore unlikely to have agreed to sex. In South Korea, premarital sex remains largely taboo.

Robinson’s alleged rape came to public attention as another soldier was being prosecuted in another high-profile rape case. Pvt. Kevin Lee Flippin was convicted and sentenced last month to 10 years in prison for brutally raping a 17-year-old South Korean girl.

The cases prompted outrage in South Korea about U.S. military crimes, and renewed calls from some politicians and activists to revise the status of forces agreement between the two countries. U.S. and South Korean officials met last month to discuss the SOFA, which sets legal procedures for servicemembers accused of crimes, and agreed to continue studying the contentious issues of criminal jurisdiction and custody procedures.

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The U.S. has such agreements with all countries where U.S. troops are stationed.

Following the two incidents, U.S. Forces Korea commander Gen. James Thurman enacted a curfew that will remain in place through Jan. 6.

Stars and Stripes reporters Jon Rabiroff and Chiyomi Sumida contributed to this story.

rowlanda@pstripes.osd.mil

chang.yookyong@pstripes.osd.mil

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