SAGA – A police officer pleaded guilty Thursday to forcing three schoolgirls into his car on separate occasions in Saga and Fukuoka prefectures so that he could sexually assault them.
Hiroyuki Tomita, 25, a former Fukuoka Prefectural Police patrolman, entered the plea at the start of his trial before the Saga District Court.
He had maintained his innocence during earlier questioning by police.
Tomita stands accused of forcing the three girls, aged 7 to 9, into his private car on separate occasions while he was off duty between October and February to molest them.
He drove around for about an hour each time with the girls before releasing them, according to the indictment.
Tomita admitted separately to abducting another girl in Fukuoka Prefecture, for which he has been charged by the Fukuoka District Court.
He also told the Saga court that he was involved in three other abductions that have not been pursued as criminal cases.
He was fired on June 3 — roughly four months after his involvement in one of the abductions came to light.
In their opening statement, prosecutors charged that Tomita kidnapped the girls “out of his strong interest in small girls.”