A USS George Washington sailor who was accused of attempting to snatch the purse of an elderly woman and hitting her with a basketball was returned to the custody of the Navy after prosecutors dropped the charges against him. This is just one in a long line of incidents involving US servicemen based in Japan who have misbehaved but also escaped prosecution for their crimes.
Earlier this month, twenty-two year old Petty Officer 3rd Class Brandon Paul Villarreal tried to grab the purse of a 64-year-old woman who was living in the city of Zushi near the Yokosuka Naval Base. He then hit her face with the basketball he was holding and so she immediately called the police. When they arrived twenty minutes later, Villareal was still hanging around the area and he was promptly arrested. He admitted to drinking at a beach near the woman’s residence and his blood alcohol level was at .05. Police were supposed to file attempted theft and assault charges against him. He was released by the police on July 25 but the spokeswoman for the Yokohama District Prosecutor’s Office declined to comment on why the charges against the US sailor were dropped.
There have been several cases where soldiers were arrested and official command apologies had to be issued, only for the prosecutors declining to see through filing charges against them. Earlier this year, another sailor from the USS George Washington was arrested several times for assaulting people in Yokohama but then prosecutors declined filing cases against them. Two trespassing cases against soldiers have also been dropped, and another petty officer accused of groping a woman in the street was fined but not charged.
[ via Stars and Stripes ]