A U.S. Marine Charged with rape and other violations of the Uniform Code of Military Justice in the alleged sexual assault of 14-year old girl in Okinawa pleaded guilty.
The U.S. Marine pleaded guilty Friday to abusive sexual contact with a child under 16, bringing to a close a criminal case that caused outrage in Japan.
The Offender Staff. Sgt. Tyrone L. Hadnott was sentenced to four years of confinement, said First Lt. Judd Wilson, a Marine spokesman in Okinawa, Japan.
The Marine Corps withdrew several other charges, including rape of a child, kidnapping and making a false official statement, Wilson said.
Japanese police arrested Hadnott in February on charges alleging that he raped a 14-year-old junior-high school student. He saw her while riding his motorcycle, offered to give her a ride and later assaulted her at a park, the police said then.
The case stirred outrage at the highest levels of the Japanese government.
Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda deplored the incident as "unforgivable." The Japanese Foreign Ministry lodged an official protest with the U.S. government. And Okinawa Gov. Hirokazu Nakaima said the offense "violates the rights of women" and that "this is a crime that we should not accept."
The Japanese authorities released Hadnott after the girl withdrew her allegations, but the Marine Corps conducted its own investigation. The Marines charged Hadnott with rape of a child, abusive sexual contact, making a false official statement, adultery and kidnapping.
The U.S. military presence has at times bred resentment among locals, who have long complained about crime, noise and accidents. Anti-American sentiments boiled over in 1995, after three American servicemen kidnapped and gang-raped a 12-year-old Okinawan schoolgirl. Two years ago, a U.S. civilian military employee was jailed for nine years for raping two women.
The Marine Corps said in a statement on Friday that it does not tolerate sexual assault.
"We remain committed to maintaining an environment that rejects sexual assault and attitudes that promote such behaviors," the statement said.