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SEOUL — Two U.S. soldiers were questioned Friday in connection with an alleged attempted rape of an off-duty South Korean policewoman Thursday night in a public bathroom outside a bar in Seoul.

South Korea police said a 23-year-old sergeant and 21-year-old private — both stationed at Camp Casey — are accused of attacking the woman in a co-ed bathroom in the Chungdamdong party district of Gangnam.

Police gave this account:

The woman was drinking with a friend in the bar and made a trip to the restroom on a landing between the building’s first and second floors. When she left the stall about 9:20 p.m., she was attacked.

The woman was beaten and dragged to the floor, where the sergeant attempted to rape her after the private locked the door.

The woman fought her attacker, and her screams alerted a nearby business owner who had the building’s guard unlock the door.

The soldiers fled to an apartment complex about 100 yards away, where South Korean police quickly apprehended them.

Gangnam police said late Friday night that they finished the initial round of questioning about 9:35 p.m. and the two soldiers were returned to the custody of the U.S. military. They had no additional comment.

South Korean attorney Jin Hyo-guen, contracted to defend U.S. military members embroiled in the Korean legal system, spoke to Stars and Stripes at the police station Friday.

“My clients said they don’t know why they are here being questioned by the local police,” Jin said.

He said they maintain they had nothing to do with the alleged attack and are innocent.

Police said the soldiers also had been detained for two hours in a Chungdamdong police station about 5:50 p.m. Thursday after a woman complained they groped her while she was walking on the street with her young daughter. They were released after the woman refused to press charges, police said.

In a brief e-mail statement Friday afternoon, a U.S. Forces Korea spokesman said the military is aware of the accusations in the alleged attack and a joint investigation is ongoing.

“We take all allegations of misconduct by USFK personnel very seriously and pledge our full cooperation to ensure justice in this matter in accordance with ROK law and the ROK-US Status of Forces Agreement,” the statement read.

The alleged attack comes a month after another U.S. soldier — Pvt. Geronimo Ramirez — was sentenced to four years in prison for raping, sodomizing and beating a 66-year-old Korean woman after a night of heavy drinking in the Hongdae party district in mid-January.


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