US soldier being investigated for alleged assault in S. Korea
In this file photo, soldiers walk down a road just outside Camp Casey in Dongducheon, South Korea, an area where a U.S. soldier is alleged to have attempted to sexually assault a Korean woman the night of Oct. 16, 2012.
SEOUL — A U.S. soldier is under investigation for the alleged attempted sexual assault of a female bar employee in Dongducheon, South Korea, police said.
The 2nd Infantry Division soldier — identified only as a man in his 20s — was drinking at a bar near Camp Casey shortly before midnight Tuesday when he kissed and tried to sexually assault the Korean woman in her mid-20s, according to a Dongducheon police official.
The woman’s clothes were torn and she was treated for minor injuries at an area hospital, police said.
Army officials said Wednesday the soldier was in Korean National Police custody and was being questioned as part of a joint KNP-U.S. Criminal Investigation Command investigation. They did not release any information about the soldier or details of the incident.
“We are fully engaged in a cooperative effort with the KNP and local authorities to thoroughly investigate and respond to this incident,” 2ID deputy commander Brig. Gen. J.B. Burton said in a news release.
“The 2nd Infantry Division deeply regrets this incident,” he said in the release. “This type of behavior is not in keeping with the values and professionalism by which our soldiers conduct themselves as we serve proudly side-by-side with our Korean counterparts in support of the alliance.”
Just over a year ago, two American soldiers were arrested within days of each other in connection with separate cases of rape involving teenage Korean girls.
Those incidents led to a groundswell of complaints about U.S. military misbehavior in South Korea; calls to reform the status of forces agreement, which some view as too lenient on soldiers suspected of wrongdoing; and a curfew on American servicemembers that remains in effect.
South Korean government officials said recently they are considering opening a national call center to handle questions from citizens who believe they are victims of crimes committed by U.S. servicemembers.