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November 1, 2008

SEOUL — A U.S. Army sergeant was charged Thursday afternoon with raping a 21-year-old South Korean woman in June and transferred from the confinement center at Camp Humphreys to a Seoul jail.

Chief prosecutor Lee Hong-jae, the chief prosecutor for the Seoul Central Prosecutor Office, said the sergeant — identified only by his last name of Kim — will be tried in Seoul Central District Court. A date for the trial has not been set.

Kim, a Korean-American stationed in U.S. Army Garrison-Red Cloud, allegedly raped the woman at 4 a.m. on June 14 in Dongducheon. During the attack, he allegedly beat her, then took her clothes and cell phone so she couldn’t escape quickly or call police. DNA samples from the attacker’s semen connected him to two other alleged sexual assaults in Seoul two months later, South Korean police said.

The women involved in the alleged August assaults withdrew their complaints against Kim, meaning he won’t be tried in those cases.

Kim met both women on different nights at a club in Sincheon, according to South Korean police. One woman told police he raped her in his car, and another said he tried to rape her in an empty hallway but was stopped when her friends heard her screaming and intervened.

Police chased and caught Kim, who has since been in custody at Camp Humphreys. Kim agreed to financial settlements with both women, a common practice in criminal cases in South Korea.

A U.S. Forces Korea spokesman said last week that the command will not release the soldier’s name before he is indicted.

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