Marine gets 3½ years for rape
September 14, 2003
NAHA, Okinawa — Marine Lance Cpl. Jose W. Torres was sentenced Friday to 3½ years in a Japanese prison, at hard labor, for raping a 19-year-old Okinawa woman in May.
Torres, 21, assigned to Headquarters and Service Company, 3 Marine Expeditionary Force at Camp Hansen, showed little emotion as he stood in an “at ease” position, his head bowed, listening to Chief Judge Nobuyuki Yokota explain the sentence.
Yokota asked Torres if there were anything he wanted to say.
“I am sorry,” he said after a few seconds of silence. “That’s all I have to say.”
Prosecutor Tsuyoshi Satake had asked for five years, arguing the May 25 attack in an alley in Kin, near Camp Hansen, was a “heinous and vicious crime” that could not be forgiven just because Torres claimed he was so drunk he could not think straight when he dragged the woman by her hair into the darkness, punched her in the face and raped her.
He read a statement from the woman, who suffered a broken nose in the attack. She said she wished Torres would spend the rest of his life in prison. Torres pleaded guilty to the charge.
However, Yokota said the crime was not premeditated.
“Although he initially denied the crime, he began to repent his deed after he read Bible while being detained,” Yokota said. “Presently, he is remorseful for what he [has] done and paid 200,000 yen consolation money to the victim.
“Despite the fact that the accused was raised in a disadvantaged environment (including his experience of being sexually abused), he has no previous criminal records and lived honestly to a certain degree. These are the circumstances the court favorably considered in deciding the sentence.”
During a hearing in August, Torres admitted he raped the woman. He said he understood how he had hurt her because he had been raped and sodomized as a child.
Torres said he met the woman at a bar near Camp Hansen on the night of May 24 and danced and drank with her and her friends until about 3 a.m., when they left the bar and walked down the street.
At that time, he was too drunk to think straight, Torres said. He tried to kiss the woman, but she complained, and he forced her into an alley and raped her.
Torres said he had been out celebrating the news that he was returning to the United States soon and would rejoin his wife and see his 6-month-old daughter for the first time.
That was no excuse, Yokota said during the sentencing.
“The accused committed the crime to release his own sexual desire,” he said. “Therefore, there are no sympathetic factors to his motive ... this was a vicious crime.”
Torres wore the same black shirt, brown corduroy pants and prison-issue plastic sandals he had worn at previous hearings. As he was led into the courtroom, he was handcuffed to a rope tied around his waist. The rope was a tether held by one of two uniformed guards.
The restraints were not removed until he entered the courtroom, a subtle sign that Okinawa authorities have rejected a request by the Marine Corps to give detained servicemembers some semblance of dignity by allowing them to wear regular shoes and have the restraints removed prior to entering the courtroom.
The request was made Aug. 1 to the Naha Detention Center and the Naha District Court’s chief prosecutor. Under a 1953 agreement between the United States and Japan, “every effort is to be made to prevent public display of restraint,” the Marine request stated.