• Kyodo

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A court sentenced on Wednesday a 29-year-old former reporter for public broadcaster NHK to 21 years in prison for raping three women.

While Yasutaka Tsurumoto consistently denied the allegations during his trial, the Yamagata District Court ruled that he was the assailant in all three cases.

“There is a risk of the defendant offending again and the victims demand he be punished severely,” said Presiding Judge Mitsuo Kojima when handing down the ruling.

Prosecutors had sought 24 years for Tsurumoto, saying he had not shown repentance for committing the crimes and that he could repeat such offenses, while his defense counsel questioned the credibility of DNA analysis performed on samples left at the three crime scenes.

The ruling said Tsurumoto broke into the rooms of the women in their 20s and sexually assaulted them in three separate incidents — in the northeastern prefecture of Yamagata in February 2016, and in Yamanashi Prefecture, west of Tokyo, in October 2014 and December 2013.

Tsurumoto worked at the Yamanashi bureau of Japan Broadcasting Corp., widely known as NHK, between 2011 and 2015, before moving to the Yamagata bureau in 2015. He was dismissed in February 2017 following his arrest.