Soldier accused of raping Filipina on Okinawa still not charged
April 10, 2008
NAHA, Okinawa — Okinawa police continue to investigate the alleged rape of a 21-year-old Philippine woman by a U.S. Army sergeant.
While other high-profile alleged crimes involving people connected with the U.S. military on Okinawa have resulted in a flood of front-page stories in the local press, local police and military officials have said little about the Feb. 18 incident in an Okinawa City hotel.
An Okinawa police spokesman said Tuesday the unnamed sergeant continues to remain in military custody and is not considered a flight risk. There have been no problems, he said, in having the soldier transported to a police station for questioning and prefectural police have not sought to take him into custody.
He added that there was no deadline for sending the case to the Naha Public Prosecutor’s Office.
“The case has not been referred yet to the prosecutors,” the police spokesman said.
The police are investigating “suspicion of rape involving bodily injury,” the spokesman said.
The Army has acknowledged that it is holding the soldier, but has provided no other details concerning the case. Under the U.S.-Japan Status of Forces Agreement, the soldier can remain in military custody until an indictment is filed in a Japanese court.
Initial media reports stated the 21-year-old Filipina was in Japan on a work visa and the soldier told investigators he paid her for sex at the Hotel New Century in Okinawa City. An employee of the hotel said the two checked into the hotel at 10 p.m. on Feb. 17. The soldier left at 9 a.m. and the woman was later taken to a local hospital for treatment of serious bleeding, police said.
Okinawa police would not discuss details of the woman’s injuries.
Manny Villar, the president of the Philippines Senate who has called for the Philippines Consulate on Okinawa to closely follow the case and aid the woman, said the incident took place only two days after the woman arrived in Japan, according to the Manila Inquirer.
According to the newspaper, she initially was placed in protective custody by Okinawa police, but has since been released to an unnamed Philippine organization on Okinawa.
“She’s well taken care of by a private organization,” Esteban Conjeos Jr., undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs for the Philippines Department of Foreign Affairs, said in Manila. “We are also arranging for her father to visit her to provide morale support.”