Charges filed against two GIs accused in 2002 S. Korea assault
May 21, 2003
YONGSAN GARRISON, South Korea — Two U.S. soldiers, accused of sexually assaulting a South Korean soldier last year, have been charged in the case, officials confirmed.
Army officials declined to name them. U.S. military public affairs guidance generally has allowed naming servicemembers charged with criminal offenses.
Lt. Col. Steve Boylan, 8th Army public affairs officer, said the soldiers’ identities are being withheld because a trial date has not been scheduled and because, although charges have been filed against the soldiers, they still are under investigation.
“We also want to ensure that the soldiers receive their due process” and are not “put into any type of unusual or unsafe type situation due to the nature of the crimes they’ve been accused of,” Boylan said.
The soldiers are among those in South Korea whose tour endings have been put on hold; they’re serving regular duty in their 8th Army units “until the matter is resolved,” Boylan said.
The two are accused of joining another sergeant in assaulting a male South Korean soldier on March 3, 2002, at Camp Jackson in Uijongbu.
Sgt. Leng Sok, formerly of Division Artillery, 2nd Infantry Division, was found guilty Feb. 13 during a general court-martial of sodomy, aiding and abetting sodomy, conspiracy to commit sodomy, assault, indecent acts and making a false official statement.
Sok was sentenced to 30 years in prison but still is in custody at a confinement facility at Camp Humphreys, South Korea, while the other two soldiers are investigated.
Sok confessed in August 2002 to authorities but recanted before his trial. His lawyers argued during trial that his confession had been coerced.
The victim initially didn’t report the crime but eventually told his mother, who wrote military authorities months after the assault, according to testimony given at trial.
In that letter, the mother demanded millions of dollars in return for her son’s cooperation and for not taking the story to the media.
Sok’s conviction rested entirely on his recanted confession. No physical evidence was presented at the trial of his or other soldiers’ involvement.
According to the victim’s testimony, the three U.S. soldiers approached him in an outdoor bathroom. Sok grabbed the victim by the throat and brandished a knife. The three soldiers forced the victim to perform various sexual acts, leaving him unconscious in a toilet stall.
The South Korean soldier was attending the KATUSA — Korean Augmentee to the U.S. Army — Training Academy. Sok and the other two sergeants were attending the Primary Leadership Development Course at the camp.
During the sentencing phase for Sok, the victim testified he suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder because of the attack. He said he has nightmares, hallucinations and has been put on antidepressants and sleep medication.