Veterans’ Tales by Vassar Bushmills
In October I promised you a second case-story about rape, the first story trying to give you some sort of idea about why neither good cops nor defense lawyers will take a female victim’s word as gospel.
This next case in about a rape charge that highlighted the difference in legal cultures (Japan and the United States) and the bias against foreign criminals there which I’ve never seen in America in my lifetime.
In March, I think, 1974, Mrs Minami showed in a young Spec4 named Evans. He said his Command Sergeant Major told him to come see me. (A Major Army command, we had several sergeant majors, but only one CSM.)
Straight out he said, “I’ve been charged with rape by the Japanese, already been to CID, who read me my rights, but didn’t ask any questions, then let me go, saying I was confined to barracks except duty hours. Then Sergeant Major sent me here.”
He didn’t have a drop of paperwork.
Wow. All hands on deck.
“OK, what’s the story?”
“Captain, I have no idea. Japanese police reported to CID that a woman who lives in Zama City and works on base said I had raped her a few weeks ago out in some field just off post.”
“That’s all I know. CID didn’t even ask me for a statement.”
“Well, first, let’s get this out of the way. Did you do it? Trust me, it matters. If you did it, even half-way, the Army can’t stop the Japanese from doing whatever they want to with you. I’ve visited some of our guys in their prisons and it isn’t pretty. But if you didn’t then maybe the Army can help you.”
“No sir. I have no idea what this has to do with me. CID says she picked me out of a photo line-up. That’s all I know.”
“OK then, it’ll take a few days to dig into the paperwork the local police sent over to CID. They’re supposed to share. Make an appointment with Mrs Minami in about a week. We have sixty days[…]