• Kyodo


The Naha District Court sentenced a U.S. Marine to four years in prison Thursday for molesting and assaulting a woman in Okinawa in August.

The court handed down the sentence to Cpl. Iian Tarver, 21, from Camp Zukeran, in line with prosecutors’ demands.

Presiding Judge Hideyuki Suzuki said Tarver “ignored the human rights of the victim and committed a despicable and violent crime.”

The woman, in her 40s, “suffered great mental anguish as she thought she might be killed,” he added.

In the lay judge trial presided over by Suzuki, Tarver’s counsel sought leniency, saying his act was “not premeditated.” But the judge ruled that the court could not suspend the sentence because the defendant’s motive was “self-centered,” leaving no room for leniency.

Tarver pleaded guilty Tuesday in his first trial session to molesting and assaulting the woman and said he wanted to apologize to her.

According to the court, Tarver dragged the woman from behind to the ground in an alley in Naha around 4:30 a.m. on Aug. 18. He forced her to the area of a private residence nearby by grabbing her hair and molested her there. She sustained a head injury.