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Pacific edition, Wednesday, May 9, 2007

SEOUL — Seoul prosecutors issued arrest warrants Friday for two U.S. soldiers accused of attempting to rape an off-duty policewoman early last month.

The Ministry of Justice was expected to forward a request for pre-trial custody of the soldiers early this week.

“The actual transfer date (of custody) will be around mid-month,” said 19th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) spokeswoman Maj. Catherine Morelle-Oliveira. “Around this date, we anticipate that the soldiers will be indicted.”

Morelle-Oliveira said the soldiers belong to a subordinate unit of her command.

Police said the 23-year-old sergeant and 21-year-old private attacked the woman April 5 in a co-ed bathroom in the Chungdamdong district of Gangnam.

Police said the woman was drinking with a friend in the bar and made a trip to the restroom on a landing between the building’s first and second floors. When she left the stall about 9:20 p.m., she was attacked, police said.

The woman was beaten and dragged to the floor, where the sergeant attempted to rape her after the private locked the door, police said.

The woman fought her attacker, and her screams alerted a nearby business owner who had the building’s guard unlock the door.

The soldiers fled to an apartment complex about 100 yards away, where they were apprehended, police said.

Police said the two soldiers had also been detained for two hours earlier that night after a woman complained they groped her while she was walking on the street with her young daughter. They were released, however, when the woman refused to press charges.

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