NAHA, Okinawa — A Marine accused of raping a 14-year-old Okinawan girl was released Friday evening by Japanese police after prosecutors decided not to seek an indictment against him.

However, Staff Sgt. Tyrone Luther Hadnott, 38, could still be charged in a military court.

“Hadnott has been released by Japanese police and is now in U.S. military custody,” said Marine Master Sgt. Charles Albrecht, spokesman for Marine Corps Bases Japan. “We’re conducting our own investigation.

“It would be premature to speculate on any further judicial action,” he added.

According to Japanese media reports, Hadnott was released from custody at the Okinawa City police station at 8:40 p.m. after the girl dropped her criminal complaint.

At a news conference in Naha on Friday night, Chief Prosecutor Yaichiro Yamashiki told reporters that the girl said she did not want to continue the case and wanted to be left alone.

Yamashiki said it “would not be appropriate” to proceed with any charges considering the girl’s reluctance to cooperate.

Hadnott’s arrest sparked protests at the gates to Marine bases on Okinawa and drew calls from Okinawan and Japanese officials for the military to rein in the off-base behavior of servicemembers.

According to police reports, Hadnott picked up the girl Feb. 10 at an Okinawa City ice cream parlor and drove her to his off-base home in Kitanakagusuku, where he attempted to molest her. She ran from him, but he followed her and persuaded her get into his van, promising to drive her home.

Instead, he drove to a seaside park, where he raped her, the girl said, according to police reports.

During intensive questioning since his arrest, Hadnott denied the rape allegation, claiming he only kissed and pressed up against the girl.

Deputy Chief Prosecutor Hirokazu Urata last week said Hadnott was cooperative throughout the questioning. Urata said there was never any evidence of a struggle.

Hadnott was arrested after the girl, who had told a friend on her cell phone that she was being detained against her will, was picked up at the park by police. She gave them the license number to Hadnott’s car and told them where he lived.

In the wake of international media coverage of the incident, U.S. officials, including Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, expressed their regrets in person to Japanese officials.

Marine leaders on Okinawa also ordered an “ethics and leadership” training stand-down for all Marines in Japan.

However, three other incidents involving servicemembers over the following Presidents Day weekend spurred Marine Lt. Gen. Richard Zilmer, the senior U.S. general on Okinawa, to order a “period of reflection” in which all Americans connected to the U.S. military throughout Okinawa and on two Marine bases on mainland Japan were indefinitely restricted to their bases or off-base homes.

Stars and Stripes reporter Chiyomi Sumida contributed to this report.

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