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Prosecutors to mull fate of sailor accused of groping two women

YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan — Japanese police have forwarded to prosecutors the case of a USS George Washington sailor who allegedly groped two women.

A petty officer 1st class, whose name was not released, is suspected of inappropriately touching a 20-year-old woman on Jan. 4 at about 11:20 p.m. on a Yokosuka street, a Yokosuka city police spokesman said. An hour later, police allege the sailor hugged a 53-year-old woman from behind, touching around her breasts.

The women reported the incident to nearby police, who found the sailor still walking around in the same area.

Police did not arrest him and did not take him into custody because he admitted groping the women and has cooperated fully with the investigation, a police spokesman said.

A breath test at the scene put his blood alcohol level at 0.06, police said.

Yokosuka Naval Base commanding officer Capt. David Owen met with Yokosuka’s vice mayor Wednesday to discuss the incident, Navy officials said Thursday.

The sailor has since apologized to both women, Navy officials said.

He will likely face disciplinary action from the Navy for violating the 11 p.m.-5 a.m. curfew for all U.S. servicemembers in Japan. The curfew was enacted shortly after two Texas-based sailors were arrested in October for the alleged rape of a Japanese woman in Okinawa. The arrest ignited protests on the Japanese island, where citizens had already been protesting the deployment of the Marine Corps MV-22 Osprey aircraft.

The latest incident is the fourth in which Yokosuka-based sailors either were arrested or faced charges from prosecutors in January. Two of them, both arrested for trespassing, had their cases dropped by prosecutors. Prosecutors are still investigating another who was arrested for allegedly punching a Japanese man in the face.

 

Stars and Stripes reporter Hana Kusumoto contributed to this report.

slavine@pstripes.osd.mil

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