South Korean soldier accused of assaulting American
January 27, 2007
CAMP RED CLOUD, South Korea — A South Korean soldier faces trial in a military court, accused of sexually assaulting a female U.S. soldier at Camp Casey on Dec. 19, 2nd Infantry Division and Ministry of National Defense officials confirmed this week.
The soldier’s first hearing in the South Korean military court is scheduled for Feb. 2 in Dongducheon but will be closed to the public, a defense ministry spokesman said.
The 6th Infantry Division soldier has been jailed since his arrest, the spokesman said.
Officials declined to name the South Korean soldier.
He is accused of assaulting the woman on the last day of the U.S. 2nd Infantry Division’s Warfighter exercise, which included about 1,200 U.S. soldiers and a South Korean contingent.
U.S. officials declined to offer further information until the trial’s conclusion.
However, one eyewitness and another soldier close to the incident said the alleged assault happened between 3 a.m. and 3:30 a.m. at the Warrior Exercise Barracks, where soldiers from other bases sleep during long training exercises.
Spc. Brandy Willey, of Special Troops Battalion’s headquarters company, said she was sleeping in the bunk next to the woman the South Korean soldier is accused of attacking when Willey awoke to footsteps and saw a flashlight scanning the large, female-only barracks room.
Willey said she thought it might have been a soldier on duty checking for fire hazards.
“Then when the footsteps come close to my bunk, the flashlight goes off,” Willey said. “All of the sudden, that’s when I heard a slap.”
The woman in the next bunk, who was sleeping in her T-shirt and underwear, later said she struck the soldier after waking up to his touch, said Willey — who quickly turned on her cell-phone light and saw a man running out the door.
Willey said she put on her shower shoes and grabbed her weapon, then she and another witness ran after the man.
They found a South Korean soldier just outside one of the exit doors.
“We literally asked him, ‘What do you think you’re doing?’ ” Willey said. “He tried to run and the other witness grabbed him but he wiggled away and ran toward the other barracks.”
The U.S. soldiers said they then went to the duty desk and asked for the military police, who arrived about 4 a.m. and took statements.
Criminal investigators arrived between 4:30 a.m. and 5 a.m., said Willey and another soldier.
Investigators locked down the Warrior Exercise Barracks and lined up every American and South Korean male in the quad area for questioning, soldiers said.
The group was narrowed to four suspects, then to two. Willey said that at the criminal investigation division’s headquarters, she and others later identified the South Korean soldier now facing trial.
Willey said she wants the man in the barracks that night “to be punished and I want him to know that it was wrong.”