US Marine arrested for allegedly raping teenager in Okinawa

Other News Materials 12 February 2008 12:46 (UTC +04:00)

( dpa ) - Police arrested a US Marine suspected of raping a 14-year-old Japanese girl Monday in southern island of Okinawa.

The crime prompted strong protest and anxiety from local residents as well as from the Japanese government, bringing back nightmares of the 1995 rape of a 12-year-old girl.

Staff sergeant Tyrone Hadnott, 38, who is stationed at the Camp Courtney base in Okinawa. admitted to fondling and kissing the junior high school, student but has denied raping her, Kyodo News Agency quoted police sources.

The US serviceman initially spoke to the girl and her friends on the street Sunday night. He later offered her a ride home but instead took her to his house on his motorcycle.

Hadnott was suspected of raping the victim in his car after he promised to take her home.

"I feel strong indignation over the crime and can never forgive it, considering the fact that the victim is a junior high school student," Okinawa Governor Hirokazu Nakaima said.

The news prompted protest throughout Okinawa prefecture, where 75 per cent of the US military facilities in Japan are located.

Japan demanded through US Embassy in Tokyo that Washington discipline US military personnel and work to prevent further crimes.

Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda told a parliamentary committee session, "This is impermissible. I take it as truly grave that (this kind of incident) occurred again despite (similar occurrences) in the past."

The Okinawa prefecture government filed an official protest with the US military and called for steps to prevent future crimes committed by the servicemen stationed in the region.

Teachers and parents cautioned students to commute in groups and never go out at night alone.

Nakaima said the news would "naturally have a detrimental effect on the sentiments of the people of Okinawa (toward the US military)."

Police arrested 46 US military personnel last year in Okinawa.

The 1995 crime led to relocation of the US Marine Corps' Futemma Air Station to another city on the island.