• Kyodo

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A 27-year-old U.S. Air Force sergeant pleaded guilty during his trial Tuesday at the Naha District Court to molesting a 10-year-old girl in the city of Okinawa in July.

Staff Sgt. Armando Valdez from the U.S. Kadena Air Base in Okinawa admitted molesting the elementary school student in a parking lot and taking photos of her naked upper body with a mobile phone on the morning of July 3.

The defendant had denied the allegation during police questioning. He reversed his plea at the court because “subpoenaing the girl would cause her damage a second time and thus not fighting would be wise,” Valdez’s attorney said.

After the incident came to light, the prefectural government, the Okinawa Municipal Assembly and other local governments lodged protests.

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