U.S. apologizes for soldier’s assault on couple

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U.S. apologizes for soldier’s assault on couple

Michael S. Tucker, commanding general of the U.S. Army’s 2nd Infantry Division in Uijeongbu, Gyeonggi, released a statement yesterday expressing regret for an American soldier’s violent assault and attempted rape of an elderly couple on Saturday.

“We deeply regret this deplorable incident and offer the family and the Korean people our most heartfelt sympathy,” the general said. “This crime is absolutely not in keeping with the high standards we expect of our soldiers.

“We will continue to work in close cooperation with the Korean National Police as they investigate this most unfortunate incident,” the general added. “We hope that this incident does not tarnish the years of friendship between our soldiers and the Korean people.”

According to police, a 20-year-old American soldier left his unit without authorization and broke into an elderly couple’s house in Dongducheon, Gyeonggi, at around 9:00 a.m. on Saturday. The soldier hit the 70-year-old man and his 64-year-old wife with a blunt instrument and then tried to rape the woman. The woman called the police after the attack and the police arrested the soldier, who was found wandering outside the couple’s house at around noon.

The couple was seriously injured in the attack and are undergoing treatment at a hospital. The Dongducheon police didn’t elaborate on how or whether the Korean couple was able to stop the attacker on their own.

According to the police, the soldier was serving a sentence for an unknown crime and was supposed to be confined to the 2nd Infantry Division’s barracks. The police said the solider had a 0.09 blood alcohol level when he was arrested.

According to the U.S. Army, high-ranking military officials, including the second-in-command at the 2nd Infantry Division, visited the couple Sunday to formally apologize for the crime.

The U.S.-ROK Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) requires Korean police to talk to the U.S. Army before arresting U.S. soldiers stationed in Korea. The Dongducheon police, however, said that the gravity of the crime required the swift arrest of the soldier.

The SOFA allows the South Korean judicial system to try off-duty American soldiers who commit one of 12 grave crimes, such as murder, robbery and rape. Dongducheon police requested an official arrest warrant for the soldier yesterday to begin preparations for his trial.

By Kim Hee-jin [heejin@joongang.co.kr]

Related Korean Article[노컷뉴스]

경기도 동두천경찰서는 28일 노부부를 둔기로 때리고 부인을 성폭행하려 한 혐의로 미군 제 2사단 소속 L (20) 이병을 구속했다.

의정부지법은 이날 열린 L 이병에 대한 영장실질심사에서 "사안의 중대성을 고려해 구속영장을 발부한다"고 밝혔다.

L 이병은 지난 26일 오전 9시쯤 동두천시 A(70) 씨의 집에 몰래 들어가 둔기로 A씨를 때리고 부인 B(64)씨를 성폭행하려다 실패한 뒤 휴대전화를 빼앗아 달아난 혐의를 받고 있다.

경찰은 L 이병의 신병을 미군에 인계하지 않고, 수사권을 발동해 사건을 조사하고 있다.

한편 마이클 터커 미군 제2보병사단장은 성명을 통해 "개탄스러운 사건에 대해 가족분들과 한국 국민에게 연민을 전달한다"며 유감을 표명했다.
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