US soldier jailed for rape in South Korea

Court sentences soldier to 10 years in prison for "sadistic and perverted" rape of teenage girl.

     

    A South Korean court has jailed a US soldier to 10 years in prison for the "sadistic and perverted" rape of a teenager in a case which has prompted an apology from a top US diplomat.

    The private was sentenced on Tuesday for raping the 18-year-old multiple times in an attack in the city of Dongducheon, which hosts the US Second Infantry Division base and is near the border with North Korea.

    "As the accused satisfied his sexual desire in a sadistic and perverted manner for three hours, the victim suffered fear and humiliation," the court said in its judgement quoted by Yonhap news agency.

    "The accused should be given stern punishment."

    It said the 21-year-old soldier entered a low-budget dorm-style room early on September 24 and sexually assaulted and tormented the victim, threatening her with a pair of scissors.

    He then robbed her of 5,000 won ($4.50) before running away, said the court in the city of Uijeongbu, north of Seoul.

    The case, along with a separate rape allegation by a teenage girl against another US soldier, prompted top US military and government officials to offer public apologies.

    High-level apologies

    Kurt Campbell, a visiting US assistant secretary of state, last month offered an apology to the Korean people for "the tragic and inexcusable rape".

    The US military also apologised and imposed a month-long late-night curfew on its troops in the country.

    The court ordered the soldier to undergo 80 hours of counselling and his personal information to be made public on a South Korean government website for 10 years, a court spokesman said. The court didn't immediately release the soldier's name.

    Prosecutors had demanded a 15-year prison term. The court, however, decided on only a 10-year sentence because the soldier had repented, was still young and the rape was his first crime, the spokesman said.

    Both prosecutors and the soldier have one week to appeal.

    About 28,500 US troops are stationed in South Korea, and crimes involving them have caused anti-American sentiments among many South Koreans.

    In 2002, the acquittals of two American soldiers whose armoured vehicle ran over and killed two South Korean schoolgirls during training prompted massive nationwide protests against the US military presence in the country.

    Tuesday's sentencing is the longest prison term for an American soldier stationed in South Korea since 1993, when a US soldier was sentenced to life in prison for murdering a South Korean bar employee, according to the foreign ministry.

    His life sentence was later reduced to 15 years, and the soldier was eventually released in 2006.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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