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NAHA, Okinawa — Marine Maj. Michael Brown filed an appeal Thursday of his July 8 conviction of attempting to commit an indecent act with an officers’ club barmaid and destroying her cell phone.

Although he was given a suspended one-year prison sentence and found not guilty of the more serious charge of attempted rape, Brown filed the appeal in the Naha branch of the Fukuoka High Court just two hours before the two-week deadline.

In a message faxed to Stars and Stripes on Thursday, Brown said he never was charged with the crime for which he was convicted.

“The facts found by the court are not in the prosecutor’s charge,” Brown wrote. “The charge on which I was convicted was never indicted [sic], nor was I arraigned on said charge.”

Meanwhile, a spokesman for the Naha District Public Prosecutor’s Office announced his office would not file an appeal, although they were displeased with the decision of a three-judge panel of the Naha District Court that found Brown guilty of the lesser charge.

“There are certain points that we cannot accept in the sentencing, such as that the court found the defendant guilty of an attempted indecent act,” said Hiroyuki Kawami, deputy chief prosecutor. “However, we decided not to appeal because we considered that the practical merit of an appeal is poor at this time after giving consideration to various factors, including the situation that it is difficult to perceive that [the] victim wishes to punish the defendant.”

He said the office decided against an appeal partly based on the alleged victim’s desire not to punish Brown. Prosecutors sought a sentence of three years of hard labor in prison.

Brown, 41, a 20-year Marine veteran, was accused of assaulting a Philippine waitress who had given him a ride after the Camp Courtney Officers’ Club closed the morning of Nov. 2, 2002. The story concerning what happened in the car changed during the trial, which lasted 19 months.

At first the woman, Victoria Nakamine, 41, told police Brown forced himself upon her in the car when she parked on a dark lane along the Tengen River and also threw her cell phone into the water when she threatened to call police.

Brown said the woman was just mad at him because he rebuffed her advances.

During the trial, Brown’s lawyer said the incident was actually a case of consensual “petting” that Nakamine stopped when Brown attempted to go too far. And Nakamine changed her story when she testified in May 2003, charging that police and prosecutors coerced her into filing charges against Brown.

She said she never wanted the case go to trial.

However, in finding Brown guilty of attempted molestation, the judges said there was evidence showing Brown attempted to force Nakamine to perform oral sex, but she resisted and he stopped.

“I do not yet have a full translation of the full judgment, but the summary read in court was filled with inconsistencies,” Brown wrote of the chief judge’s comments at the time of sentencing. “The judge would dismiss one point because her (Nakamine’s) allegation was simply not believable, then quote from it in supporting another point.”

Brown said the trial was mishandled by the judges and the prosecutor.

“The prosecutor knew there was not enough evidence to support a charge,” he wrote. “Now [he] says he will not appeal because my accuser does not want me punished? She said that over a year ago and it didn’t matter to them then.

“This prosecutor simply lacks the courage for a good fight and is hiding behind my accuser,” Brown wrote.

“This case needs to be challenged, if for no other reason than to see if the higher court has the courage to tell the truth.”

No date has been set for hearing the appeal.

— Chiyomi Sumida contributed to this report.


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