NAHA, Okinawa Pref. — The U.S. Marine Corps in Japan found a staff sergeant guilty Friday of sexual abuse of a teenage girl in Okinawa in February and sentenced him to four years in the brig, with one year suspended.
But Staff Sgt. Tyrone Hadnott, 38, was cleared of rape and other charges, including kidnapping through luring, Lt. Col. David S. Oliver, the presiding judge, said during a general court-martial at Camp Foster, convicting the accused of violating the Uniform Code of Military Justice.
Hadnott had waived his right to a pretrial investigative hearing, which effectively reduced his term to three years in prison, counting the suspended year. Prosecutors had recommended an eight-year term.
Hadnott admitted he had touched the victim’s underwear but insisted he had not raped her. His waiving of his right to an investigative hearing paved the way for the U.S. military to file charges in a general court-martial, which handles serious crimes, including murder and rape.
In February, Hadnott, who lived off base, picked up the girl on a motorbike and took her to his home. When she started crying, he offered to drive her home and allegedly raped her in his car, according to Japanese police.
Hadnott was arrested by Japanese police on Feb. 11 on suspicion of raping the 14-year-old girl, who attended a junior high school at the time, in a car in the town of Chatan. But Japanese prosecutors did not file criminal charges against him after the girl withdrew her accusation.
Under the Code of Criminal Procedure, rape is an offense subject to prosecution only upon a complaint from the victim. Hadnott was later handed over to the U.S. military.
Following Hadnott’s release by Japanese authorities, the U.S. military conducted an investigation on its own.
Hadnott’s arrest — as well as other damaging criminal accusations against American service members — worsened resentment of the U.S. military presence on Okinawa.
The incident prompted the U.S. military to severely restrict movements of both troop and civilians on Okinawa and elsewhere, and conduct an ongoing review of education programs and guidelines aimed at preventing sexual assault.
Lt. Gen. Edward A. Rice, the commander of U.S. Forces Japan, told reporters Friday the military had completed a thorough review of the prevention guidelines and training.