Prosecutor seeks jail for both men accused in assault on policewoman
July 20, 2007
SEOUL — A South Korean prosecutor recommended that two U.S. soldiers being tried for attempting to rape an off-duty policewoman be imprisoned, although one of the soldiers still says he had nothing to do with the April attack.
“I wasn’t in that bathroom. I wasn’t in that building,” Pfc. Mark Feldmann told judges in Seoul Central District Court on Wednesday. “I am innocent.”
Sgt. Anthony Q. Basel, 23, has admitted in court that he tried to rape the woman, but said he was drunk at the time and doesn’t remember the incident.
The prosecutor wants Basel sentenced to seven years and Feldmann to five for attempting to rape the woman in a public coed bathroom in Seoul after a day of drinking.
Feldmann, 21, testified last month that he was outside the building trying to catch a taxi when the attack occurred, but the prosecutor says he was inside the bathroom keeping watch. Both soldiers are based at Camp Casey.
On Wednesday, the last court session before the pair are sentenced July 27, Basel told judges that he had written an apology letter to the policewoman but doesn’t know whether she has received it.
“I’m deeply sorry for what I did. I’m sorry for all the pain I’ve caused,” he said.
Basel’s attorneys have told Stars and Stripes the soldier developed a drinking problem after returning from the Iraq war and now suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder.
One of his attorneys told Stripes on Wednesday that medical documents provided by U.S. Forces Korea do not show that Basel was treated for PTSD, but another attorney said medical documents from a nonmilitary hospital in the United States that show he was treated for PTSD will arrive in South Korea in a week.
Feldmann’s attorney, Lee Sung-Hwan, told judges on Wednesday that the policewoman should have seen Feldmann if he was in what she described as a tiny, brightly lit bathroom during the attack.
The policewoman testified in June that she doesn’t know whether a second person was in the bathroom during the attack.
Restaurant owner Cho Sung-Hwan, who responded to the woman’s screams for help, initially told police that he discovered one man in the bathroom. He later told police that there was a second man in the bathroom.
He testified earlier that he didn’t remember where the second man was standing because he was shocked and embarrassed by the incident.
Judges ordered the audience to leave the courtroom during the policewoman’s hourlong testimony in June, and have barred reporters from taking notes during the trial.
Stars and Stripes reporter Hwang Hae-rym contributed to this story.