U.S. airman ‘raped’ children in Okinawa

Kyodo

A U.S. airman and investigator in a Guantanamo Bay espionage case is facing charges including raping and molesting children in Okinawa and California, an air force official said Tuesday.

Air Force Sgt. Marc Palmosina allegedly raped and molested children under the age of 12 on four separate occasions at or near the U.S. Kadena Air Base between Oct. 1, 1998, and Oct. 1, 2001, according to a document provided by Travis Air Force Base in California.

He is also accused of molesting girls under 16 at or near Kadena between May 29, 1999, and Oct. 1, 2001, and raping and molesting children under 16 at or near Vacaville, Calif., between May 29, 1999, and Oct. 1, 2003.

The U.S. Air Force is not able to release further information on the case, including the identities of the alleged victims, due to the ongoing investigation, the air force official said.

Police in Okinawa said they are investigating whether any Japanese nationals were involved.

The Kadena Air Base said Japanese are not among the victims of the alleged crimes.

Responding to an inquiry from Okinawa Prefecture, the base confirmed that Palmosina was serving at the Kadena base between 1998 and 2001.

Palmosina had taken part in an espionage investigation centering on Senior Airman Al Halabi, who was working as an Arabic translator with suspected al-Qaeda and Taliban fighters in a U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

A civilian attorney for Al Halabi, who is a Syrian-American accused of carrying maps and documents from the prison, said Palmosina was charged last week.

Palmosina is also charged with mishandling a classified document.