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SEOUL — A judge issued an arrest warrant Tuesday night for an Army private charged with assaulting and raping a 67-year-old Seoul woman, ensuring the soldier remains in South Korean custody until prosecutors decide whether they’ll indict him.

South Korean police had held Pvt. Geronimo Ramirez since apprehending him early Sunday morning. They say he raped the woman after drinking heavily in Seoul’s Hongdae neighborhood, according to transcripts from Tuesday’s arrest warrant hearing in Seoul Southern District Court. The soldier’s defense attorney, Jin Hyo-guen, provided the transcripts and a copy of a letter Ramirez wrote to the 67-year-old woman on Tuesday.

In the letter, Ramirez asks the woman for forgiveness but denies that he remembers committing the crimes.

“I also got informed of all the abuse & trauma I did to you & for this I am very sorry … ” Ramirez wrote in the one-page letter to the woman.

Ramirez told Judge Song Kyung-geun that during a normal week he drinks three to six beers and five shots or mixed drinks about every other day, Jin said. Jin said his client has no medical history of mental illness, nor has he previously been accused of rape.

Ramirez tested negative for illegal drugs after his arrest, Jin said.

Ramirez and another soldier ate lunch at the Dragon Hill Lodge on Saturday and tried to stay there but all rooms were booked, according to transcripts.

After going out in downtown Seoul, Ramirez’s friend said he knew a motel in Hongdae, a college neighborhood known for its many bars and clubs, according to transcripts.

The pair checked in at 10 p.m. and then went out drinking.

Ramirez said he drank at least three Long Island iced teas, a rum cocktail, a tequila shot and seven beers at four different bars, according to the defense attorney. After the third bar, he took his drunken friend back to the motel then went back out on his own.

Upon leaving the fourth bar, he purchased multiple bottles of beer at a convenience store and drank them all, according to transcripts.

“I don’t remember the last time I drank,” Ramirez told his defense attorney.

After leaving the convenience store, Ramirez said the next thing he remembers is a policeman handcuffing him.

Seoul police have said the woman was returning home from her cleaning job Sunday morning in Hongdae when Ramirez dragged her between two cars in a parking lot and raped her. He also raped her in an alleyway and inside a building, police said.

When police responded to her screams, Rodriguez fled but soon was captured.

The soldier was scheduled to leave South Korea for his next duty station Feb. 1.

In such cases, USFK cannot request custody “unless there is legitimate cause to believe that a failure to request custody would result in prejudice to an accused’s right to a fair trial,” according to the U.S.- South Korea status of forces agreement.

Military officials have confirmed this week that a soldier from the 2nd Infantry Division’s E Company, 2nd Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment was in South Korean custody, but they declined to name the soldier.

On Wednesday, a U.S. Forces Korea spokesman said the military would not name the soldier unless he was indicted.

Transcript of letter

Editor’s note: The following was provided by Pvt. Geronimo Ramirez’s attorney, Jin Hyo-guen, who said it’s a transcript of a letter Ramirez wrote Tuesday to the woman he’s accused of assaulting and raping. No grammatical changes have been made.

Dear, Mrs. (Name withheld)

My name is Geronimo Ramirez I am in the U.S. military and I have been told that I am your attacker. I also got informed of all the abuse & trauma I did to you & for this I am very sorry I have dishonored you, myself, my family & my country. I don’t know how all of this happened I was so intoxicated that I don’t remember it and I know that this is not an excuse or that you should forgive me for it but I wish for you to take in consideration that I was not in my senses I am not a violent person & I love helping out others

I also know that you probably hate me but I just want to say I’m sorry I will pay for your hospital bills & for the damages that I have caused it was never my intent to hurt anyone I know that you cannot forgive me in this instance but I do hope you find it in your heart to one day forgive & to Not think bad of americans for everyone makes mistakes and this was mine i was suppose to go home soon & get married but now i can’t i will stay here & pay for my mistakes

I Apologize again thank you for your time you took out of your day to read this i wish you a good & quick recovery

2007-01-16Geronimo Ramirez

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