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Two Marines stationed at Iwakuni Marine Corps Air Station pleaded guilty Friday to assaulting two Japanese women from Hiroshima last spring in Iwakuni.

Cpl. Joseph P. Benoit, 22, and Lance Cpl. Nathan J. Schuermann, 22, are accused of attacking the women on April 12 at about 5:30 a.m. near the air station.

Friday’s session in Iwakuni’s Yamaguchi District Court marked the first trial date for Benoit and Schuermann, who are being tried together.

The Iwakuni District public prosecutor said in court that Benoit punched one woman’s head, knocked her to the ground and positioned himself on top of her and grabbed her neck. He said Schuermann knocked the second woman to the ground, pulled her hair and struck her head against the ground.

The Marines’ defense attorneys presented petitions written by the two women asking the court for leniency. The attorneys also said both Marines paid solatium, a payment that expresses condolences without admitting guilt.

The next hearing in the case is March 26 at 1:30 p.m.

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