Marine's accuser had rejected a settlement
By DAVID ALLEN AND CHIYOMI SUMIDA | STARS AND STRIPES Published: July 3, 2003
NAHA, Okinawa — All concerned would have fared better had Victoria Nakamine accepted an out-of-court settlement from a Marine officer she’d accused of assaulting her in November, a lawyer for Plenty Staff, the temporary agency that employed her, testified Tuesday.
Satoshi Kawamitsu, an attorney for the Okinawa company providing temporary workers for clubs on U.S. military bases, said he advised Nakamine, 40, to accept an apology and monetary payment from Maj. Michael Brown.
Brown’s case continues even though Nakamine, who worked as a barmaid, recanted her accusations against him in court last month. His attorneys are expected to call their first witnesses July 15. Additional hearing dates have been set for July 24, Sept. 9 and Sept. 13.
Such compensatory payments, known as jidan, are common in Japan. Nakamine accused Brown of trying to rape her after the officers club closed Nov. 2 as she was giving him a ride to his home near Camp Courtney. She also claimed he destroyed her cell phone when she threatened to call police.
Brown, 40, has denied the charges. He told police in November that Nakamine falsely accused him of attempted rape after he warded off her sexual advances.
However, Brown’s attorney, Toshimitsu Takaesu, stated at a hearing last month that the major arranged with the club manager to have sex with Nakamine, but she resisted his advances after driving him to a secluded road near the base.
Nakamine testified previously that Brown attempted to force himself on her but stopped when she complained.
Nakamine, who is from the Philippines, is married to a Japanese man and has lived on Okinawa for 17 years. She took back her accusations against Brown during several days of testimony in May, claiming her employer, police and Okinawa prosecutors coerced her into filing charges against the Marine.
Kawamitsu said the opposite was true.
“The jidan meeting that had been arranged with all parties on Dec. 16 was unsuccessful after the alleged victim did not show up,” Kawamitsu said. “The following day, I met her at my office. I wanted to ask her in person what her intention was.”
“I told her that the officer … was very concerned about his family situation,” Kawamitsu said. “And I told her it would benefit the company as well if an out-of-court settlement could be reached.”
He said Nakamine was adamant that Brown should be punished.
“I told her that if she was not happy with the amount of money offered, I could seek a readjustment,” Kawamitsu said. “However, she said at that time that it was not for the money that she filed her complaint.”
“From the beginning right to the end of our meeting, she said she wanted to punish him, so I gave it up.”
Previously, Kawamitsu told Stars and Stripes an agreement was made through the Marine staff judge advocate’s office to pay Nakamine $2,500 plus 250,000 yen, or about $2,200.
Kawamitsu said that during a consultation with Nakamine in November, he explained the Japanese legal process. He said he made sure that she understood that in Japan a sex offense can proceed to indictment only if the victim files a complaint, and that charges cannot be withdrawn once a suspect is indicted.
Brown, a 19-year Marine veteran assigned to the 3 Marine Expeditionary Force’s command, was indicted Dec. 19 and spent six months in the Naha Detention Center until being released on bail in May. Under the terms of his release, he is restricted to Camp Courtney.
In May, Nakamine testified via closed-circuit television that she never intended for the case to go to trial.
“The criminal complaint is not based on my voluntary will and the police and the prosecutor know it,” she said. She claimed she did not understand statements she signed because they were written in Japanese, a language she said she can’t read.
Last month the prosecutor who presented the indictments against Brown testified that he acted in good faith. He said Nakamine insisted the case go to trial.