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SASEBO NAVAL BASE, Japan — A petty officer stationed here was indicted late Friday afternoon in Nagasaki District Court on charges he raped a 19-year-old Japanese woman in Sasebo, prosecutors said.

A spokesman for the Nagasaki District Public Prosecutor’s Office in Sasebo said that Petty Officer 3rd Class Markies Steven Bates, 24, a postal clerk assigned to Fleet Activities Sasebo, was formally charged with rape resulting in bodily injury for allegedly attacking the woman by forcing her into his car and raping her at about midnight Jan. 16.

Bates has been in Japanese custody since his arrest Jan. 17. Under the Status of Forces Agreement, Japanese police have immediate jurisdiction over a servicemember accused of a crime when they arrest the individual off base.

The woman remembered part of the assailant’s license plate number and told police, who were able to identify Bates, according to a spokesman at the Nagasaki Prefectural Police Station in Ainoura.

Police visited Bates’ off-base residence, asking him to come in for questioning. He was arrested at the police station early that Saturday morning, authorities said.

During the initial investigation, Bates told investigators he was in the area and called out to the woman, who was walking home through a parking lot.

He told police he was not clear about what happened next, the police added.

The spokesman said Bates did not know the woman.

Seeking help, the woman stumbled into a nearby office, the police spokesman said. A man there called police after determining the woman could not tell him what had happened because of her heavy tears and emotional distress.

It’s unknown when Bates will make his first court appearance.

If convicted, Bates could face a maximum term of life in prison.

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