Court date set for Sasebo sailor charged in attack
SASEBO NAVAL BASE, Japan — A USS Essex petty officer charged with indecent assault resulting in injury will face trial next month.
Wednesday, a Nagasaki District Prosecutor’s Office official announced a Feb. 18 trial date for Petty Officer 3rd Class Alfred Thomas O’Donnell, 21. The trial is to start at 11 a.m.
O’Donnell remains in Japanese custody; he has been in a Japanese jail since his indictment Dec. 25, Lt. j.g. Jereal Dorsey, Amphibious Task Force 76 spokesman, said Wednesday.
O’Donnell is accused of punching a 23-year-old Japanese woman jogging at about 6:45 p.m. Oct. 5 near Nimitz Park off-base, indictment documents show, then climbing on top of her and trying to remove her clothes.
The Japanese woman suffered facial injuries that took a week to heal, the indictment says.
Although generally unsecured, Nimitz Park is under U.S. Navy jurisdiction, a base official said Wednesday. Adjacent areas fall under Japanese jurisdiction.
O’Donnell’s attorney, Hitoshi Tokukatsu, said the defendant has apologized to the woman and offered her a solatium. A solatium — often called “gomen money” by Americans — is a small monetary offering to demonstrate sincere apologies and sympathy.
A U.S. military attorney is not representing O’Donnell, Dorsey said, but the base staff judge advocate advised him of his rights under the status of forces agreement.
— Chiyomi Sumida contributed to this report.