Sasebo sailor admits raping woman
SASEBO NAVAL BASE, Japan — A petty officer stationed here admitted in court Thursday that he forced a local 19-year-old woman into his parked car in January and raped her.
Petty Officer 3rd Class Markies Steven Bates, 24, a postal clerk at Sasebo Naval Base, entered the Nagasaki District Court tethered to police officers and wearing handcuffs. Early in the session, after a short synopsis of the crime and the “rape resulting in bodily injury” charge, Bates declined an opportunity to speak.
“Does this mean these facts are correct?” the judge asked via an interpreter.
Bates paused, then said, “Yes.”
The Nagasaki District public prosecutor gave the following account of the incident:
At about midnight on Jan. 17, Bates parked his car in a dimly lit lot along a road in the Ainoura area of Sasebo. He then spotted the woman and approached her, speaking in English. The woman, who speaks little English, thought Bates was having car trouble because he pointed to the vehicle and indicated he wanted her to follow him.
She followed Bates to the car’s left side, where the rear door was open. Still believing he needed help, she bent over at the waist to look inside the car. Bates shoved her inside and climbed on top of her. She screamed before he covered her mouth with his left hand, pulled off her pants and undergarment and raped her.
The woman left disheveled and distraught and entered a nearby office seeking help. She remembered the car’s license plate number and called police, who arrested Bates a few hours later. At that time, the prosecutor said, Bates admitted to “having sex” earlier that morning.
Wearing a black leather jacket, jeans and sandals, Bates sat quietly, listened and showed no reaction as the translator read through the prosecutor’s presentation of the sequence of events leading to the rape, the physical details of the rape and the subsequent arrest.
The prosecutor also entered forensic evidence he said showed that Bates’s DNA matched that of semen recovered from the woman and her clothing and Bates’ clothing and car.
Bates’ defense attorney did not challenge the evidence.
The woman and her father asked the court to order that the sailor spend the rest of his life in prison.
In her statement read in court, she said she “could not understand how anyone could look so down on women that they would rape someone.”
“I remain filled with anger and chagrin,” she said. “I wish that I could kill him myself. I want him sent to prison for the rest of his life. I have to live with this trauma for the rest of my life.”
In another statement read in court, her father said he also wanted to kill Bates, adding, “He is below being a beast.”
The defense and prosecution plan to question Bates during the next court session, set for June 3 in Sasebo. He’s been in Japanese custody since his January arrest.
In Sasebo, Emiko Miyamoto, an organizer of the group Rally of Women Who Will Not Forgive Base Crimes, said last week she was notified March 29 that the Sasebo City Assembly had adopted a petition she submitted six days earlier.
The council wrote the Japanese prime minister’s office, ministers of Public Management, Home Affairs, Posts and Telecommunications and Foreign Affairs, the Japanese Defense Agency chief and speakers of the Diet’s lower and upper houses.
The group, formed in 1996 after an attempted burglary and murder also targeting a woman, reorganized after the January rape. About 70 members rallied and marched on Jan. 25 after Bates was arrested.
The petition states the city council “strongly protests this incident from the standpoint of securing citizens’ lives, wealth and human rights,” and requests that:
• The servicemember apologize to the victim.
• The U.S. Navy act to prevent additional crimes, such as enforcing strict discipline and thoroughly educating the troops.
• The U.S.-Japan Status of Forces Agreement be revised to mandate that U.S. forces relinquish suspects to Japanese authorities before an indictment.
— Hana Kusumoto contributed to this report.