Sasebo sailor may face rape charge
August 20, 2008
The Navy is weighing whether to charge a sailor in connection with an alleged rape near Sasebo Naval Base earlier this summer, a spokesman for Navy Task Force 76 said Monday.
The 20-year-old sailor, assigned to the USS Harpers Ferry at Sasebo, Japan, was taken into custody in June after a daylong, citywide manhunt that included a mandatory muster for all Sasebo base personnel.
He was transferred to the brig at Yokosuka Naval Base, where an investigative hearing on whether to charge the sailor was held Friday. No decision had been reached as of Monday, spokesman Lt. Denver Applehans said.
According to Japanese and military authorities, a Navy spouse told local police she was attacked while walking on a downtown sidewalk in the early morning hours June 27; police searched for the alleged perpetrator throughout the day.
Sasebo police said a passerby found the victim lying on a sidewalk near Sasebo General Hospital at 3:39 a.m. The woman, 43, said a stocky man in his 20s grabbed her from behind and punched her in the face before pushing her to the ground and raping her.
Police set up checkpoints throughout the city and checked vehicles that entered the base while all base personnel were ordered to report to their command for a mandatory head count.
The incident caused Sasebo Mayor Norio Tomonaga to call for increased discipline of base personnel.
Japanese authorities turned the case over the United States because both the alleged victim and suspect are foreign nationals.