The defendant was accused of breaking into the woman’s residence in a low-budget motel on September 24, repeatedly raping her and stealing 5,000 won (equal to US$4.50). The US Government quickly apologized for the soldier's crime and in contrast to the past, turned the accused over to South Korean authorities for prosecution. Prosecutors demanded 15 years in prison.
COMMENT: In 1992, an American soldier was sentenced to 15 years for raping and murdering a South Korean bar worker. That assault helped set off a prolonged civic campaign to demand greater South Korean jurisdiction over American soldiers involved in serious crimes and led to protests calling for the withdrawal of United States troops.
Normally, American military personnel fall under the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) in countries where they enjoy legal protection from local prosecutors, but in recent years US officials have the option of waiving such immunity in cases that fall outside of official duties and where violent crimes have occurred, particularly where the victims are local nationals.