Marine again denied bail in Okinawa assault case
NAHA, Okinawa — Bail was denied a second time Thursday for a Marine major charged with attempting to rape a woman.
In refusing the request, a Naha District Court judge repeated her concern that Maj. Michael Brown could destroy evidence if allowed to go free pending his trial, set to begin Feb. 13.
Brown’s attorney, Masayuki Akamine, said he filed a new bail motion Tuesday, arguing the U.S. military had made assurances Brown would be restricted — locked in the brig, if necessary — to ensure he would not talk to potential witnesses.
Akamine said he would appeal the judge’s ruling to the Fukuoka High Court’s Naha branch.
“He will be detained at the brig if the bail is granted,” Akamine said. “The Marine Judge Advocate’s Office issued a letter guaranteeing that [the] Marine Corps would take full responsibility to control Brown. If he is detained at the brig, there would be no fear he would attempt to destroy evidence.”
Akamine added that Brown, 39, agreed to be held in the brig but also was adjusting to detention in a Japanese jail.
“He maintains a good spirit, and the Japanese meals do not seem to bother him,” Akamine said.
Brown, a 19-year veteran assigned to the 3rd Marine Expeditionary Force’s command element, is charged with attempting to rape a woman who had given him a ride from Camp Courtney in the early-morning hours of Nov. 2. The woman, a foreign national married to an Okinawan and a 20-year resident of Japan, worked on Camp Courtney.
She told police Brown instructed her to drive to an isolated road near the base and then tried to force himself on her. When she attempted to call police, she said, he destroyed her cellular phone.
Brown, also charged with destruction of private property, told police the woman became upset when he turned down her sexual advances. He grabbed the phone and threw it in a nearby stream, he said, when she snatched his wallet.
The case drew international attention when Okinawa police sought custody of Brown on Dec. 3, after obtaining a warrant for his arrest. U.S. officials denied the request, acting on a provision of the status of forces agreement between the United States and Japan that U.S. servicemembers could remain in the custody of military officials until indictment in a Japanese court.
That happened on Dec. 19.
Brown then was turned over to Okinawa authorities.