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U.S. Marine sentenced to 12 months in prison for assaulting Japanese woman

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12 months? What a disgrace, he should have spent years rotting in prison for disgracing the uniform and the U.S. And as this case proves again, quite a few foreigners/U.S. military receive quite lighter sentences compared to similar actions by native personnel.

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RDJ JR. Once again you prove to be the most mindless reactionary person on this board. The Japanese didn't even prosecute him. The ONLY reason he got any time at all is because the military refused to let it slip through the cracks.

It isn't/wasn't more than a misdemeanor crime for him because the sex was consensual between he and the girl. The only reason he got time at all was for stealing 12000 yen and indecency.

Tell me a case in Japan where ANYONE gets 12 months for that?

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Spot on Matada.

rjd_jr, are you serious? "Native personnel" get heavier sentences? Is that s? Perhaps if they were prosecuted at all to begin with...

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rjd you never cease to amaze me. a service member gets 3 years? for petty robbery and you write about 15 lines of text explaining how damaging the blow to the head could have been and what not somehow trying to say he guy should have gotta the full 5 years. look at the charges in this case "conspiracy to engage in indecent acts, sodomy, violating liberty and alcohol orders and fraternization" those are pretty much BS teach you a lesson charges based on military conduct and regs. the military dish these out all the time when theyre trying to get you for whatever reason.

like someone said, show a case where a japanese national was given a lighter sentence for "conspiracy to engage in indecent acts, sodomy, violating liberty and alcohol orders and fraternization" oh thats right, these charges could be thrown out a regular court without hesitation.

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The political climate at the time of this crime is the reason these guys got off so lightly. They gang raped this girl and got a slap on the wrist because the government desperately wanted to keep the base in Iwakuni. I agree with rjd (for what might be the first time) this is disgraceful... These guys should have gotten more time.

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Ah yes, Thundercat. I keep forgetting that you know beyond a reasonable doubt that this rape was actually committed because you have all the 'real' facts of these cases that the rest of us here, including some of us who actually have the inside track in some cases, aren't privy to. Maybe you should volunteer your services to the Japanese prosecutors? I'm sure they'd appreciate your omnipotence...

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So you're saying that politics didn't have a role in this? Inside track or not, it's undeniable that this crime occured in a politically charged atmosphere. Go ahead and attack me all you want, it doesn't bother me in the slightest.

Everyone keeps using the fact that the prosecutors (who are generally deeply politically connected) dropped the case and therefore no crime occured. I feel that the prosecutors were instructed to drop this case, which they did, because the LDP could not have a scandal such as this occuring at a time when pressure was mounting to move the base and when a candidate for mayor who greatly opposed this base was favoured to win an election. The LDP pulled strings to have their man elected and I don't doubt for a second that they would pull strings to have this covered up.

I highly doubt you or any other member of the American military had any 'inside track' to the workings of the political manoeuvring that let these guys get away with their crime.

Go ahead and prove me wrong. More than anything else I want to know that justice was served.

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In agreement with Thundercat. Interesting how some automatically question the validity of any rape charge against a U.S. military member (or any American for that matter) simply because charges were dropped and/or case was no pursued further. Usually, if that happens in a typical case in Japan, people are quick to point that out as the failure of the Japanese judicial system in general. But in cases like these, a quick change in tune and now these same corrupt and ineffective Japanese judicial system is now working. Ultimately, what I find terribly disheartening is the total lack of empathy by many here for any Japanese female victims of crimes at the hands of the U.S. military. You never notice many express their disgust or anger at the perpetrators, or sympathies for the victim, apparently politics means more than justice. Very, very disturbing.

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thundercat

Then tell me this. IF the victim had actually been raped and the Japanese authorities had indeed refrained from prosecuting the case due to political reasons, then why would the Marine Corps (who conducts its own investigation remember) not charge the accused Marines with rape and prosecute them to the full extent possible when doing so would be in their best interest in many ways? Is it that old standby excuse that the Marines are just taking of their own people?

Oh and by the way, this incident occured long AFTER the local election and the finalizaion of the Atsugi-Iwakuni move.

I highly doubt you or any other member of the American military had any 'inside track' to the workings of the political manoeuvring that let these guys get away with their crime. Many of us, particularly JAGS, Security Officers and PolMil officers at regional commands, work directly with our Japanese counterparts, including police and prosecutors, and maintain close professional and personal relationships with them. Doubt it all you want but they do tell us things off the record and although some of the info that I sometimes mention here is gained second or sometimes third-hand I believe it's probably closer to the truth than your sweeping circumstancial conjectures regarding cases like these.

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there is a slight different between running a train or gang bang on a female and gang rape. the guy did not get charged for rape, he even got charged for being out late of all things but certainly not rape, does that not tell you something? if there was solid proof that this guy had raped the female then he would have been awarded a longer sentence.

thundercat, you sound like loosechange on 9/11. maybe no one here has the inside track but at the same time you cannot prove that the crime was actually committed either. youre just going off what you heard or read. maybe youre typing from another planet but on earth, females sometimes really do call rape even after they willingly give it up.

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And, apparently, in these types of cases the benefit of the doubt is always with the U.S. military member (or American). Again, very sad and quite disturbing to see in these cases doubts are always raised about the Japanese female's side.

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USN

Oh and by the way, this incident occured long AFTER the local election and the finalizaion of the Atsugi-Iwakuni move.

Right, you may have an 'inside track' (which I still doubt) but you certainly have trouble using a calender.

March 2006 - Local referendum voted against Iwakuni base.

April 2006 - Anti Iwakuni base mayor Ihara is elected.

October 2007 - 4 marines accussed of rape

October - December 2007 - pressure mounts on Ihara to resign after the municipal assembly members supportive of Iwakuni base continually vote down his budget.

December 28, 2007 - Ihara resigns and an election is called.

February 2008 - Fukuda Yoshihiko, pro-Iwakuni base is elected mayor.

" Fukuda, 37-year-old former House of Representatives member from the Liberal Democratic Party, was assisted by the ruling coalition parties, and his inauguration as a new mayor of Iwakuni is expected to benefit the central government's implementation plans on the realignment of the U.S. military presence in Japan under an agreement with the United States. "

"Since the relocation plan is a key item of a 2006 bilateral accord on the realignment of U.S. forces in Japan, the central government has been paying attention to the outcome of the election which may influence other local governments' reactions to the realignment plans, including the most symbolic relocation of U.S. Marines' Futemma Air Station within Okinawa." Japan Times.

So you would have us believe that incident occured after the election and that there was no political motivation to have this crime swept under the rug. Check your facts. The crime and the investigation occured right in the middle of all this political manoeuvring to have the base relocated.

Japanyesterday, as I said earlier, you can attack me all you like. Think I'm a conspiracy nut? It would take a total idiot to deny that this crime didn't occured at a politically sensitive time for the LDP.

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Matada, what a native Japanese criminal "would" have gotten is irrelevent, as is the Japanese prosecutors inability to prosecute (incompetence? politics?). The punishment ought to fit the crime. 12 months seems a little scant for attacking a woman and disgracing the Uniform.

Did the Hiroshima prosecutors ever announce 'why' they did not pursue the case?

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And, apparently, in these types of cases the benefit of the doubt is >always with the U.S. military member (or American). Again, very sad and >quite disturbing to see in these cases doubts are always raised about the >Japanese female's side.

Actually, kinda goes the other way. Benefit of the doubt is always on the females side. Actually, male of female, the side of the Japanese person. Only way you could have missed this is if you've had your head in the ground for the past few months. Hell, at this point, if a serviceman spits on the ground these days, its national news. They crucified these guys publicly, then the prosecutors realized they didn't have a case. The marines though hold their guys to a little higher standard, and therein lies the difference.

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Thundercat

My apologies. You are correct that the incident occured before the most recent mayoral election instead of after as I mistakenly claimed. This provides a possible motive for the Japanese authorities to want to dismiss this incident. However, the plan to move Carrier Air Wing Five from Atsugi to Iwakuni was finalized and approved back in late 2005/early 2006 long long before this incident. There is still no reason whatsoever for the Marine Corps to wish to spare these four for any political reasons. Since you haven't yet, care to comment on this:

IF the victim had actually been raped and the Japanese authorities had indeed refrained from prosecuting the case due to political reasons, then why would the Marine Corps (who conducts its own investigation remember) not charge the accused Marines with rape and prosecute them to the full extent possible when doing so would be in their best interest in many ways? Is it that old standby excuse that the Marines are just taking care of their own people?

I still can't fathom why you think you can state matter-of-factly as you did earlier that the woman was raped for certain. Unless you were there yourself and witnessed the incident you can't state this as fact. The benefit of the doubt must clearly be given to the Marines in this case that they did not actually rape the woman. This is especially so in light of the fact that, politically charged or not, one justice system chose not to prosecute the case at all and a second independent justice system did prosecute them to the extent possible but not for rape. I guess you're not a big fan of the legal requirement to prove an accused person guilty beyond a reasonable doubt for serious charges such as murder and rape? God forbid you ever serve on a jury...

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Wrong molenir, go back and re-read my posts. My stating that in cases like these the benefit of the doubt is with the U.S. military refers solely to the many JT posters here who seem to switch their tune depending on the situation. Not with anyone or anything else. Because this is a U.S. military member, these JT posters will automatically side with him and question the account of the female, the judicial system, and everything else except for the act of rape itself.

I don't mind people quoting me but it would be nice if at least you could not falsify my viewpoints, thanks.

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Rdj

12 months? What a disgrace, he should have spent years rotting in prison for disgracing the uniform and the U.S.

Could you clarify what sentence would be acceptable to you. Seems you have a problem with Military justice system.

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Well he won"t be lonesome because all of running buddies will be waiting for him at The United States Military Disciplinary Barracks. Not too many people would want any of these Losers near their Teenage Daughters when all 4 get together on a nite out on the town. Hope the their lives will be very difficult when they get released from prison like a place to live and finding enployment because what the did is UNFORGIVABLE! Here"s hoping thay all flunk all background checks in an effort to keep these 4 losers away from Society.

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All of the circumstances of this case have led me to believe that this woman was raped. Her case was dismissed because of 'inconsistancies in her story' not because of physical evidence. By all accounts, the police dropped the case without having thoroughly investigated her claims. This is also the reason I believe these marines were not tried for rape by the US military. Some of these guys WERE charged with rape but copped pleas for lesser crimes. Had their trails gone ahead I think they would have been found guilty.

"Lance Cpl. Larry Dean was, however, found guilty during his court-martial of sexual misconduct for having sex with the woman without getting her consent." Stars and Stripes 05/10/08

WITHOUT HER CONSENT!!! What is the definition of rape again?

"After his first contact, Dean noticed she wasn’t enjoying sex with the men anymore but had sex with her a second time anyway, making him negligent and guilty of sexual misconduct, Hale said.

The alleged victim said she was raped by the men and pretended to enjoy it at first because she feared for her life." S and S 05/10/08

Feared for her life... disgusting. Violence is not always needed when intimidation can be used.

"The woman’s symptoms are consistent with symptoms of severe trauma, according to a military psychiatrist who testified last week.

Dean had sex with the woman twice in the parking lot and was the last man to copulate with her, according to court-martial evidence.

He told investigators the woman seemed to “give up” but that he had sex with her again anyway." S and S 05/11/08

She "gave up"! Sounds like she wasn't a willing participate. Also clearly rape!

I tend to believe her story that she agreed to sleep with one of the men and that the others joined in without her consent. No matter how you argue that one, it's rape.

Also, everyone is ignoring the fact that these guys ARE criminals! They are CONVICTED criminals. They lose all benefit of the doubt and their "word" is worthless. If you would rather believe the word of criminals than the word of someone who has commited no crimes and stands nothing to gain from making her accusation that is your choice.

So USN2, you question my understanding of the assumption of innocence until proven guilty?! If any jury had heard the same testimony I'm sure, beyond a reasonable doubt, these guys would have been convicted of rape.

BTW, getting pretty sick of the personal attacks. I'm proving my stance. Can you do the same? What evidence do you have that supports their stories?

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One problem with the legal definition of rape is that it states:

"She has to resist and fight all the way", so giving in "in legal" term cancels the rape charge and it becomes consentual.

Myself don't agree with that part and think it should be changed.

But I would also say that rape happened.

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**The common law definition of rape is "sexual intercourse achieved by force or threat of force without consent of the victim". By requiring force or the threat of force, the legal system perpetuates the myth that a rapist is a strange man who jumps from behind the bushes at night. In addition, when there is a force or threat of force requirement, non-physical or non-imminent threats are not enough to prove a rape. As if this does not make proving rape difficult enough, many states also require the proof of "reasonable resistance" on the part of the rape victim.

http://womenmatter.org/fairco_whatstheproblem.htm

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The court martial found Sgt Lanaeus J Braswell, 25, guilty of conspiracy to engage in indecent acts, sodomy, violating liberty and alcohol orders and fraternization, according to a statement by the Marine Corps Air Station in Iwakuni in southern Japan.

The other 3 were court martialed using the same or similiar charges. None of them stood accused of rape as the evidence and the lack of a credible witness only allowed the USMC to pursue lesser charges.

The girl willfully went out to the parking lot to have sex with at least one of them. When his friends joined in, this little hip hop wannabe jgirl got a little more than she bargained for and cried rape.

I would imagine rape convictions would have been impossible without the four marines confessing. To them this naive girl was a willing participant and simply got played.

The USMC with another public relations nightmare on their hands and had to do something. Since these guys were in violation of the UCMJ on many levels, the USMC had every right to slam the crap out them and serve them up as examples to restore order and discipline as well as show the Japanese public they are doing everything they can to eliminate this type of thuggery from happening in the future.

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VOR,

I read in the Stars and Stripes that some of the marines WERE charged with rape and even kidnapping at the start of their court martials. Was that information incorrect?

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T-Cat

Not sure. Chances are they may have looked into it but came to the same conclusion as the J-prosecutors did not being able to build a strong enough case with the evidence at hand. If they were not able to get at least one of these goons to admit rape and the J-gal is not a reliable witness or viewed in an unfavorable way, it would boil down to a jury or a judge taking the word of one questionable individual over the word of four. Rape convictions under these circumstances are very hard to prove.

J-gals who buy into the appeal of hip hop culture seem to be treated unfairly at both ends. They are treated like sluts by Americans who project the hip hop image here in Japan only to be treated the same way by local law enforcement and prosecutors after being violated.

At least the USMC is able to go after these guys on other code violations and slap them down pretty hard to at least dole out some kind of justice and try to prevent this from happening in the future.

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