Marine indicted for alleged rape on Okinawa
NAHA, Okinawa — A 21-year-old Marine was indicted Tuesday in Naha District Court for the May 25 rape of an Okinawa woman near Camp Hansen.
Lance Cpl. Jose W. Torres was charged with raping a 19-year-old woman in Kin, the town adjacent to the Marine base.
According to police reports, he allegedly attacked the woman near a bar where they had been drinking.
The attack allegedly occurred at 3:15 a.m. and the woman reported the incident to base gate guards, claiming she had been struck in the face and raped, police said. She was later treated for a broken nose.
The indictment accuses Torres of rape resulting in injuries, asserting he struck her in the face with his right fist and then grabbed her by the hair and dragged her into an alley, where he pressed her against a stairway and raped her.
No trial date has been set.
Okinawa prosecutors say Torres has confessed. A Marine Corps spokesman said Wednesday the service had no new comments on the incident.
Torres, assigned to Headquarters and Service Company, 3rd Marine Expeditionary Force, will be transferred to the Naha Detention Center from the Okinawa Prefectural Police station in Ishikawa, police said. He was delivered to Okinawa police by military authorities June 19 after the U.S.-Japan Joint Committee in Tokyo decided it was a special case warranting early turnover.
Under the status of forces agreement between the two nations, U.S. servicemembers in military custody who are charged by Japanese police with felonies are not handed over until they are indicted.
Exceptions can be made for people charged with “heinous” crimes, such as rape.
According to Japanese press accounts, another Marine introduced Torres to the woman at a bar earlier in the evening. When the woman returned and said she had been raped, the Marine alerted military authorities.
In a subsequent visit with Okinawa Gov. Keiichi Inamine, Lt. Gen Wallace C. Gregson, Okinawa area coordinator and commanding general of the 3rd Marine Expeditionary Force, expressed his regrets concerning the incident but noted an off-duty Marine assisted in identifying a suspect.
The incident, along with two other sexual-assault cases in the past two years, prompted ongoing talks between the United States and Japan concerning the early-turnover provision and a U.S. request to allow military observers during interrogation of suspects.
Under the Japanese legal system, suspects do not have the right to have an attorney present during questioning by police and prosecutors.
— Chiyomi Sumida contributed to this report.