A three-judge panel on Wednesday sentenced a U.S. soldier to six years in prison for raping a South Korean teenager in September.
Pvt. Kevin Robinson was found guilty of raping the 17-year-old at her residence in Seoul after a night of drinking. He also was convicted of larceny for stealing the victim’s laptop.
Unfortunately, this isn’t uncommon in countries where thousands of U.S. troops have been essentially permanently based. There was another high-profile case of rape last year in which “Pvt. Kevin Lee Flippin was sentenced to 10 years in prison for brutally raping another South Korean teenager.” These two cases prompted widespread protests in South Korea and “led to calls for changes to the U.S.-South Korea Status of Forces Agreement regarding the treatment of U.S. servicemembers suspected of crimes,” since they are often granted immunity.
Japan is another classic case of this. Between 1972 and 2009, there were 5,634 criminal offenses committed by U.S. servicemen in Japan, including 25 murders, 385 burglaries, 25 arsons, 127 rapes, 306 assaults and 2,827 thefts. Japanese citizens have protested against U.S. military presence on their land for decades.