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A Marine stationed at Iwakuni Marine Corps Air Station pleaded guilty Thursday to attempted rape but sharply denied battering the victim as severely as prosecutors argue.

Pfc. William E. McIntosh, 22, is charged with attempted rape resulting in serious bodily injury. Conviction on that charge could bring a sentence of up to life in prison.

McIntosh admitted in Yamaguchi District Court Thursday that when he scuffled with a 53-year-old Japanese woman, he was trying to rape her. But the Marine “denied punching the woman in her face with his fist, or attempting to strangle her, or jumping on top of her,” said his attorney, Tomoyuki Morishige.

The Yamaguchi District Public Prosecutor’s Office indicted McIntosh, an internal audit clerk with Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron, in November, accusing the Marine of physically harming the woman on Aug. 1 as she walked home alone about 3 a.m.

The prosecutor, reading from the indictment as McIntosh’s trial opened Thursday, accused the Marine of grabbing the woman “by the neck with both hands” to prevent her from resisting, knocking her to the ground in the parking lot of an off-base dental clinic, then hitting her in the face with his fists.

The prosecutor said McIntosh “then seemed to have a sudden attack of guilt for what he was doing” and stopped — but followed her for a block, then began hitting her again with his fists and delivering several open-handed slaps across her face, inflicting “bruises and other injuries requiring about 24 days to heal.”

Morishige told Stars and Stripes that McIntosh agreed that after he “realized what he was doing, and was struck by a guilty conscience, he stopped attacking the woman and started to walk away from her.

“But then she chased after him,” the Marine’s lawyer said, “and grabbed him by his sleeve from behind. “It was at that point that he hit the woman with his hand.”

McIntosh, from Colorado Springs, Colo., “testified he initially had no thoughts of raping the woman,” his lawyer said.

The next hearing in the trial is set for February 5 at 3 p.m. McIntosh has been in Japanese police custody since his November indictment.

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