A 22-year-old U.S. Marine was indicted in December over alleged sexual assault resulting in the death of a woman in Okinawa Prefecture, local prosecutors said Tuesday, bringing to light another alleged crime involving U.S. military personnel there.
The Marine, Lance Corp. Jordan Begaye, allegedly assaulted the woman, with whom he had no personal acquaintance, off base in October. The victim sustained injuries in the assault, according to the indictment and investigators.
The prosecutors did not reveal whether Begaye admitted to the charge. They indicted him on December 23 but said they refrained from notifying the public about the case due to its nature. Police also said they did not reveal it in consideration of the woman's privacy. The police said they received a call from neighbors saying a woman was seeking help, but Begaye had escaped by the time they arrived at the scene.
The case was referred to the prosecutors on December 3 as an indecent assault resulting in injury, after the police investigated with cooperation from the U.S. side.
The U.S. military handed the accused over to Japanese authorities after the Dec. 23 indictment in line with the Japan-U. Status of Forces Agreement.
Marine Corps Installations Pacific said via email that such incidents were contrary to our core values, and that the Marine Corps leadership remains committed to maintaining an environment that rejects sexual assault and attitudes that promote such behaviors. The statement said that the alleged sexual assault was taken seriously and was aggressively investigated by U.S. military law enforcement.
Okinawa is home to the bulk of U.S. military installations in Japan. Many local residents have expressed frustration with the facilities' crime, noise and accidents.