SASEBO NAVAL BASE, Japan — Japanese police arrested a petty officer stationed here early Saturday morning on suspicion of sexual assault.

Petty Officer 3rd Class Markie Steven Bates, 24, denied the allegation when questioned by officers at the Ainoura Police Station, according to a Japanese newspaper report.

Sasebo public affairs and legal officials, contacted late Saturday night, refused to comment on the case.

Other Navy officials were unavailable.

According to a Nagasaki Prefecture police official, Bates called out to a 19-year-old Japanese woman as she was walking.

He then stopped her and forced her into a car in a parking lot, allegedly assaulting her at midnight Friday, the police official said.

The woman asked another Japanese person for help, and that individual then called police.

After investigating, police arrested Bates at 4:30 a.m. Saturday, the official said.

The woman remembered part of the automobile’s license plate, which led police to Bates, according to Kyodo News.

Sasebo police, as well as the Nagasaki police official, would not say if Bates is in Japanese police custody.

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Hana Kusumoto is a reporter/translator who has been covering local authorities in Japan since 2002. She was born in Nagoya, Japan, and lived in Australia and Illinois growing up. She holds a journalism degree from Boston University and previously worked for the Christian Science Monitor’s Tokyo bureau.

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