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U.S. soldier in Japan charged with sexual assault of minor

2024-06-27 09:57:41Source: Xinhua

June 26, 2024 -- A U.S. serviceman in Japan's island prefecture of Okinawa has been indicted for allegedly kidnapping a girl under the age of 16 in December and committing nonconsensual sexual intercourse, local media reported.


The Naha District Public Prosecutors Office filed charges against Brennon Washington, 25, on March 27, Kyodo News reported Tuesday, citing local authorities, with this latest incident involving military personnel likely to further inflame local opposition to the U.S. military presence.


According to the indictment, the U.S. Air Force member allegedly invited the girl to speak to him in his car at a park in Yomitan on Dec. 24, 2023, and drove her to his residence before committing indecent acts such as kissing and touching the lower half of the girl's body with the knowledge that she was under 16.


A person related to the girl reported the incident to police on the day it occurred. After investigating the case, the police sent papers on the suspect to prosecutors on March 11, the report said.


The case's first hearing is set for July 12 at the Naha District Court, it added.


Naha prosecutors have not revealed whether the defendant has admitted to the charges.


Okinawa hosts 70 percent of all the U.S. military bases in Japan while accounting for only 0.6 percent of the country's total land area. Crimes committed by U.S. service members and nonmilitary personnel have been a constant source of grievance for locals.


The rape of a 12-year-old Okinawa schoolgirl by three U.S. servicemen in 1995 prompted a wave of public outrage. Other cases include the rape and murder of a 20-year-old woman in 2016 by a former U.S. base worker who was later sentenced to life in prison, according to Kyodo News.