U.S. Soldier Jailed 10 Years For Rape In South Korea

An American G.I. stationed in South Korea was convicted of rape and sentenced to 10 years in prison, the harshest sentence for a U.S. serviceman in almost 20 years, according to news reports.

The 21-year-old U.S. Army private, who was not named, was accused of breaking into an 18-year-old woman’s low-budget apartment on Sept. 24 and repeatedly raping the woman while threatening her with a pair of scissors. The soldier also stole 5,000 won, or about $4.50.

“The victim had to shudder with fear and sexual insult at her own home while the accused satisfied his sexual desire through three hours of violent and abnormal assault,” Judge Park In-sik of the Euijeongbu District Court said in a verdict, according to Yonhap.

Prosecutors had asked to sentence the soldier to 15 years in prison but the judge handed down only 10 years, citing the soldier’s lack of a criminal record and stated remorse.

In 1992, an American soldier was sentenced to 15 years for raping and murdering a South Korean bar worker in 1992, according to the New York Times.

That assault helped set off a prolonged civic campaign to demand greater South Korean jurisdiction over American soldiers involved in crimes and led to protests calling for the withdrawal of United States troops.

Most South Koreans welcome the presence of the 28,000 American troops, whom they consider essential to their defense against North Korea. But crimes committed by the soldiers against South Korean victims have often triggered anti-American protests.