SASEBO NAVAL BASE, Japan — A sailor here was found guilty and sentenced Thursday to four years in prison with forced labor for raping a 19-year-old Japanese woman in January.

Petty Officer 3rd Class Markies Steven Bates, 24, a Sasebo postal clerk, stood quietly and showed little reaction when his sentence was read in Sasebo Branch, Nagasaki District Court. He received 90 days of credit based on his detention by Japanese authorities since his arrest the day of the crime.

It could not be determined Thursday whether Bates might face additional charges or sanctions from the U.S. Navy.

According to the indictment, Bates parked in a dimly lit Sasebo lot Jan. 17 and approached the woman, speaking in English. The woman, who speaks little English, thought he was having car trouble because he pointed to his car, indicating he wanted her to follow him. Bates shoved her inside and climbed atop her. She screamed before he covered her mouth and raped her.

At the first trial session April 8, Bates remained silent when asked if he had any comments pertaining to the indictment’s details. Then, asked if his silence indicated the indictment was correct, Bates said, “Yes.”

During the second trial session June 3, he refused to answer questions from defense attorney Hirofumi Inoue or Tomoyuki Nakahata, the case prosecutor. When he finally spoke, he accused Nakahata of “trying to make me out as a violent person,” “twisting everything I say” and “driving me crazy.”

Bates admitted he and the woman had sex but said he thought it was consensual.

“I have a lot of women. This is just a big misunderstanding,” he said. “I don’t have to rape women. I’ve had many other women, and had them a lot quicker than that.”

His defense attorney explained the “misunderstanding” theory further.

“He … thought she liked him and was willing to have sex,” Inoue said, adding that his client was “kind” to the victim after sex. “He said, ‘thank you’ after sex, and gave her a tissue as she had requested.”

Prosecutor Nakahata recommended a sentence of five years in prison at forced labor.

The judge said the four-year sentence is justified because of the evidence and because the crime was malicious, saying the victim suffered a great deal of physical pain and continues to suffer psychologically.

The judge also said the sentenced was justified because the victim and her family asked for severe punishment. In previous court statements, the victim and her father asked that Bates spend the rest of his life in prison. “I wish I could kill him myself,” the victim stated.

The prosecutor’s request for five years was reduced, the judge said, because Bates still is a young man, has no criminal record and likely will lose his Navy career. He added that the Navy offered an apology and to “explain compensation” to the victim.

“What the judge meant is that we offered to discuss monetary compensation with her, and wanted to offer a formal apology. Even so, at this point she turned down our offer to even discuss the issue with her,” said Jon Nylander, a spokesman for Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Japan.

Bates has 14 days from Thursday’s sentencing to file a written appeal. Inoue declined to comment about the case or the possibility of an appeal.

Nylander said U.S. Navy personnel serving prison terms in Japan do so at Kurihama, a prison south of Yokosuka.

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