Same again, this time here in Australia 

Same again, this time here in Australia



US rape accused sail towards home
February 9, 2004

Three US servicemen charged with raping two Territory sisters were last night on their way home.

The three men -- aged 20, 21 and 22 -- were bailed into the care of US military authorities yesterday morning.

The men, each charged with sexual intercourse without consent, are due to appear in Darwin Magistrates Court on February 24.

But the trio were back among the general population on board US-bound USS Peleliu

when it departed last night, following a 12-hour delay for ship maintenance.

The ship's public affairs officer, Lieutenant Chris Davis, said the three would be returned to Darwin in time for their court appearance.

"They are on board for the time being," he said.

"Our legal folks have made arrangements with the local authorities here -- they will be returned to Australia for their court appearance."

The ship will be about halfway into its month-long homeward journey when the men are required to return.

Lt Davis said the details of their return were yet to be finalised.

"It will probably be via the nearest facility where we can get either commercial or military transport," he said.

"Whichever means is most expeditious will be the means that we use."

A spokeswoman for the NT Police said it was standard procedure in such cases to release the offenders back into the care of the military.

"The military pretty well guarantee that they will have them back here to appear in court," she said.

"Where they go after they are bailed is not our concern -- as long as we have got that guarantee."

The three US servicemen are accused of raping two Darwin women, who US Shore Patrol officers found semi-conscious in a Darwin apartment in the early hours of Saturday morning.

Police said a 26-year-old woman had told them that she and her 23-year-old sister had gone with two US servicemen to a Darwin apartment, where they were sexually assaulted. They said a third serviceman was in the apartment at the time.

USS Peleliu, along with USS Decatur and USS Germantown, arrived in Darwin on February 4.

About 4500 US Marines and sailors were in the city for several days of R&R following active deployment in the Arabian Gulf.

Darwin police said a female friend of the sisters became concerned about their welfare after they left a Darwin nightclub with two US Navy servicemen. She alerted US Shore Patrol members who were at the nightclub.

Northern Territory News,4057,8625272%255E13569,00.html


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