European edition, Saturday, June 2, 2007

A Stuttgart, Germany-based soldier was arrested over Memorial Day weekend for allegedly beating his ex-girlfriend on the head with a flashlight.

The 25-year-old soldier, whom several sources said was a member of the 554th Military Police Company, was not identified by German police, and Army authorities have released no details on the incident.

According to Arno Heeling, a spokesman for German police in Kaiserslautern, the attack occurred on Kaiserstrasse in Haupstuhl, near Landstuhl, at 9 p.m. Saturday.

Heeling said the attacker hit the 28-year-old victim over the head multiple times with the flashlight while in the woman’s home, and then fled the scene after locking the woman’s door behind him. The woman’s neighbors heard her crying for help, Heeling said, and called police.

The soldier was arrested some time later by German police and brought before a German judge, who then turned the soldier over to Army authorities, Heeling said.

Early Sunday morning, the woman was put into a coma in order to have her head wounds treated, Heeling said, adding that he did not know the woman’s current condition.

Investigators with the Seckenheim-based 202nd Military Police Group (Criminal Investigation Department) declined to comment on the case, and would not say where the soldier was being detained.

Chris Grey, a spokesman with Army Criminal Investigation Command in Fort Belvoir, Va., in an e-mailed response, said that Army investigators and German police were working very closely “concerning an alleged assault of a female German civilian by a U.S. soldier.”

“Details of the investigation are not being released by CID at this time to ensure we do not jeopardize the investigation and we protect the integrity of the case.”

The military police company’s commander was unavailable for comment on Friday, and a soldier who answered the phone at the company’s headquarters at Panzer Casern in Böblingen said he could not comment.

The Status of Forces Agreement requires U.S. military personnel who are arrested by German police be turned over as soon as possible to U.S. authorities, according to Paul J. Conderman, chief of the foreign law branch of U.S. Army Europe’s judge advocate office.

German authorities retain the right to try a servicemember under their justice system, but that rarely happens, Conderman said, usually only in cases of particularly heinous crimes, or when there are U.S. and German co-defendants, or when German authorities are worried that the suspect would not be convicted by court-martial.

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