Iwakuni Marines accused of rape face trials
Stars and Stripes March 6, 2008
Four Iwakuni Marines will be tried by general courts-martial for the alleged gang rape of a Hiroshima woman in October, the Marine Corps said Tuesday.
The decision to send the case to trial was made Monday after an investigative hearing on the charges was held last month at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni.
Gunnery Sgt. Carl M. Anderson, Gunnery Sgt. Jarvis D. Raynor, Sgt. Lanaeus J. Braswell and Lance Cpl. Larry A. Dean are charged with various crimes including rape, conspiracy and kidnapping and have been confined on base since the allegations surfaced in October.
“No dates are set yet for the courts-martial” and arraignments will be held Wednesday and Friday, base spokesman Master Gunnery Sgt. John Cordero said.
The decision comes as U.S. military and Japanese government officials have stepped up efforts to curb misconduct and crimes involving servicemembers in Japan.
In the Iwakuni case, a Japanese woman, who was 19 at the time and a minor under Japanese law, testified during an Article 32 hearing in February that the four Marines kidnapped and took turns raping her in a van during a night out in Hiroshima on Oct. 14.
Anderson, is a father of three children and was scheduled to retire three days after the incident. He said he did not rape the woman and his attorney said he has a clean record after 21 years of military service.
The woman admitted drinking alcohol and having consensual sex with one of the Marines but said she was then taken against her will and forced to have intercourse with the other men.
One of the Marines took about 12,000 yen from her purse, she testified.
She was discovered by police wandering the streets of Hiroshima with her blouse unbuttoned, according to evidence at the hearing.
Defense attorneys said the woman lied to police repeatedly over the course of the Japanese investigation and created the rape story to avoid being punished by police and her mother. The woman denied the claims.
Japanese authorities decided in November not to pursue charges in the case.
The decision to send the case to trial was made by the convening authority, Col. Brent Goddard, the commanding officer of Combat Logistics Regiment 35, 3rd Marine Logistics Group, which includes the four Marines’ unit.