US sailor arrested over weekend after being found inside Japanese elementary school

YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan — Japanese police arrested a USS Stethem sailor Sunday night on suspicion of unlawful entry after he was found in a Zushi city elementary school.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Kristopher Lee Murphy, 23, is suspected of breaking the glass front door at Hisagi Elementary School and was found sleeping in a second-floor classroom at 7:45 p.m., a Zushi police spokesman said.

Police were alerted when a school alarm went off, the spokesman said Monday. Murphy was found in the school about 20 minutes later, police said.

Although the sailor admitted entering the school, he gave conflicting accounts of whether he broke the door and what happened afterward, police said.

Murphy had been drinking, according to police, though they could not immediately confirm his blood-alcohol level Monday.

He remained in Japanese police custody Monday morning. Navy officials said they were working with Japanese police to investigate the incident.

Although Murphy’s arrest was reported in Japanese media, the attention paid to servicemember-related crime in much of Japan has lessened in recent months.

Following the October arrest of two Texas-based sailors, who were convicted March 1 of raping a woman in Okinawa, even arrests for relatively minor trespassing offenses — which generally went unprosecuted — gained national airplay.

The rape arrest and the ensuing furor, especially in Okinawa, led U.S. Forces Japan to issue an 11 p.m.-5 a.m. curfew for all ranks.

In February, USFJ revised the curfew to last from midnight to 5 a.m., and only for servicemembers E-5 and below. The curfew also bars servicemembers in those ranks from traveling alone off-base, or outside their off-base home, from 7 p.m. to midnight. 


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