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Yokosuka sailor faces trespassing charge after entering woman’s home

YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan — A U.S. sailor was arrested and faces a trespassing charge after reporteldy entering a Japanese woman’s Yokosuka home early Sunday morning, police said.

The arrest of Petty Officer 2nd Class Richard Mark Lawton, 24, comes nearly three months after U.S. military officials enacted an 11 p.m.-5 a.m. curfew for servicemembers in Japan.

Lawton, attached to Commander Submarine Group 7, entered the unlocked home of a 32-year-old woman around 2:40 a.m. in Funakoshi-cho, about four miles northwest of Yokosuka Naval Base, a Taura police spokesman said. The woman had been expecting her husband to come home late, police said.

Lawton waited calmly for police at the home, then told them he had mistakenly walked in, thinking it was a friend’s home. His blood alcohol level registered at 0.04, police said.

Lawton told police he was scheduled to return to the United States on Jan. 17 and has been staying at various friends’ homes since he moved out of his residence last Wednesday.

Lawton is in the process of separating from the Navy, Submarine Group 7 spokeswoman Lt. Lara Bollinger said Sunday.

“We demand the highest standards of conduct of all our Navy affiliated personnel at all times,” according to a statement issued Sunday by Submarine Group 7. “If sailors violate these policies and instructions, they are subject to a range of measures varying with the seriousness of the violation.”

Navy officials added Sunday evening that they were considering the possibility that Lawton was looking for his friend’s apartment and walked into the wrong residence.

Lawton remained in police custody Sunday. Police said they would recommend a trespassing charge to the local prosecutor’s office Monday.

Incidents involving U.S. servicemembers have come under heightened scrutiny since October, when two Texas-based sailors were arrested for the alleged rape of a woman on Okinawa. Soon afterward, U.S. Forces Japan imposed the curfew. Other measures, aimed at curtailing late-night drinking, have been imposed since then as incidents have continued.

Stars and Stripes reporter Hana Kusumoto contributed to this report.

slavine@pstripes.osd.mil

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