U.S. apologizes for soldier’s assault on coupleMichael 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 [firstname.lastname@example.org]
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