South Korean prosecutors ready to proceed with assault case against U.S. soldier
PYEONGTAEK, South Korea — Gwangju prosecutors are expected to proceed this month in their assault case against a U.S. soldier they contend struck a local woman in the head with a bottle, the U.S. military said Monday.
And the U.S. military also is weighing disciplinary action against the soldier, Sgt. Montez Clark of the 35th Air Defense Artillery Brigade, said Maj. Jerome L. Pionk, an 8th U.S. Army spokesman in Seoul. Clark is assigned to the brigade’s 2nd Battalion, 1st Air Defense Artillery Regiment.
“For now, ongoing proceedings are expected” in Gwangju court, Pionk said.
No court dates have been set and no fine levied but Gwangju authorities are expected to finish their prosecution this month, Pionk said. Gwangju prosecutors have said they will press a local court to fine Clark.
What disciplinary action, if any, the 35th Air Defense Artillery Brigade might initiate will not occur until the Gwangju case is finished, Pionk said.
“That will be pending on what the Korean government does,” Pionk said.
Meanwhile, Clark remains on “international hold” by the U.S. military acting at the request of South Korean authorities, Pionk said.
By placing Clark on hold, the U.S. military agrees not to allow him to depart the peninsula until South Korean authorities say they no longer need him in the case.
He had been slated to rotate to the States when local police told the U.S. military he was a suspect.
The alleged assault occurred while Clark was drinking with a 27-year-old South Korean woman in Gwangju around 4 a.m. on Nov. 5, Gwangju police said. According to police, Clark made sexually provocative comments to the woman and, when she objected, struck her in the head with a beer bottle and fled.
The woman sustained head injuries, police said.
Last week Gwangju prosecutors also said Clark was negotiating a financial settlement with the alleged victim.
But no settlement has been made as of Monday, Pionk said.
Clark’s battalion is stationed at Camp Carroll in Waegwan but at the time of the alleged assault, he was stationed at Gwangju Air Base.
Police traced Clark through cell phone records, they said.
U.S. military lawyers from the Camp Carroll area have provided Clark legal advice while his case is pending before Gwangju authorities, Pionk said.