At U.S. military bases in Japan, most service members found culpable in sex crimes in recent years did not go to prison, reports the Associated Press. Instead, in a review of hundreds of cases filed in America’s largest overseas military installation, offenders were fined, demoted, restricted to their bases or removed from the military. In about 30 cases, a letter of reprimand was the only punishment.
More than 1,000 records of sex crime reports, filed between 2005 and early 2013 and obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, describe hundreds of cases in graphic detail, painting a disturbing picture of how senior American officers prosecute and punish troops accused of sex crimes. The handling of allegations verged on the chaotic, with seemingly strong cases often reduced to lesser charges. In two rape cases, commanders overruled recommendations to court-martial and dropped the charges instead. Of 244 service members whose punishments were detailed in the records, only a third of them were incarcerated.