A van carrying U.S. Marine Staff Sgt. Tyrone Luther Hadnott leaves the police station as he
is transferred to prosecutors in Okinawa city Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2008 (AP).

Marine Sexual Abuse Case Causes Controversy Over Military Bases Abroad

May 19, 2008 11:43 AM
by Josh Katz
A U.S. marine in Okinawa was sentenced Friday to four years in prison for sexually abusing a teenage girl, raising questions about the presence of U.S. military bases abroad.

30-Second Summary

The U.S. court-martial in Okinawa acquitted Staff Sgt. Tyrone Luther Hadnott, 38, of rape, but the marine pleaded guilty to “abusive sexual contact.”

The case comes on the heels of a rash of recent incidents involving members of the military in Japan. At the end of April, for instance, prosecutors charged a U.S. sailor with murdering a Japanese taxi driver.

For Okinawa, Japan, the current situation calls back the 1995 case when three marines gang raped a 12-year-old girl. The affair caused a backlash against the presence of 45,000 U.S. troops in Japan.

Currently, there are about 50,000 U.S. military personnel in Japan, with about half stationed on the island of Okinawa. Many islanders “are calling for troop numbers to be cut back, citing concerns over crime, noise and pollution,” according to Reuters.

To protect the close relationship between the United States and Japan in light of the recent incidents, the military has instated a number of “liberty rules” in Okinawa. The restrictions have included curfews and travel restrictions, reports the Marine Corps Times.

Although the military presence in Japan has come under scrutiny of late, the U.S. maintains a vast network of bases throughout the world. Catherine Lutz, a professor of anthropology at Brown University says, “Officially, a quarter of a million U.S. troops are massed in 737 major bases in 130 countries in facilities worth $115 billion.” She worries that the presence of these troops abroad may damage the image of the United States.

Headline Link: ‘Marine sentenced for sex abuse of Japan teen’

Background: Spate of incidents spark controversy about U.S. presence

Historical Context: The 1995 rape by U.S. marines in Okinawa

Opinion & Analysis: A contentious military presence abroad

Related Topic: ‘Pentagon Vows to Improve Military Mental Health Care’

Reference: ‘The Worldwide Network of US Military Bases’


Most Recent Beyond The Headlines