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Marine indicted on sexual assault and trespassing charges on Okinawa

NAHA, Okinawa — A Japanese court Wednesday indicted a 28-year-old Marine on charges of trespassing and sexual assault involving an injury.

Sgt. Phillip E. Sawyerr, formerly assigned to Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, near Hiroshima, is accused of forcing his way into an Okinawa woman’s apartment in Naha Aug. 4 and sexually assaulting her before fleeing when police arrived, according to the indictment. Sawyerr denied the accusations after his arrest.

He is being held in the Naha Detention Center pending trial. No court date has been set, the prosecutor’s office said.

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According to Okinawa police, Sawyerr snuck up on a woman in her mid-20s about 3:45 a.m. as she was entering her second-floor apartment. He pushed her inside and attempted to force her to the floor, police reported. Her screams alerted a neighbor who called police, a police spokesman said at the time of Sawyerr’s arrest.

Police arrived within minutes and spotted Sawyerr jumping from the second-story entryway, losing his shoes as he landed in the parking lot. He ran a short distance before he was apprehended, the police spokesman said.

The woman told police she did not know Sawyerr, police said. She was treated for minor injuries.

According to a U.S. Marine Corps press release, Sawyerr was on Okinawa en route to a new duty station in the U.S. Although he was stationed at Iwakuni, his parent command was the 3rd Marine Logistics Group headquarters at Camp Kinser, in Naha.

“The Naval Criminal Investigative Service is fully cooperating with the Naha Police Department, which has primary jurisdiction,” the release said.

okibureau@pstripes.osd.mil

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