First DoD civilian convicted on Guam
Wednesday, 17 February 2010 03:34
by Romeo Carlos | Variety News Staff
AHEAD of the military’s plan to heavily militarize Guam over the next few years and growing concerns by local residents over the social impact of thousands of Marines coming to Guam, U.S. Attorney Lenny Rapadas has announced the conviction of a military civilian employee brought to Guam to face charges of sexual abuse of a minor while employed at a military base on Okinawa.
Bruce Carey Wood, 56, was sentenced yesterday in the District Court of Guam by Judge Francis Tydingco-Gatewood to 10 years of prison time, becoming the first Military Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act case tried on Guam.
Wood had been living and working on Okinawa as a chef at the U.S. Camp Shield Naval Base, where he was arrested last July for sexual abuse of a boy since 2000, according to court documents.
On the first count of aggravated sexual abuse, sexual contact allegedly occurred between 2000 and 2004, when the boy was less than 12 years old, court documents state. He was charged with a second count of alleged sexual abuse of a minor between 2005 and 2008.
“This is proof that no one is beyond the law,” Rapadas said, adding that the long arm jurisdiction “allows us to reach out and prosecute U.S. citizens who commit crimes outside the United States.”
MEJA was a bill passed in 2000 to close legal loopholes that allowed civilians or military personnel to escape justice for crimes they might commit while employed by or accompanying armed forces overseas.
The law covers civilian employees of the Department of Defense as well as its contractors and their employees, including subcontractors who could face prosecution for any offense otherwise punishable by imprisonment for more than one year if committed within the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States.
A series of incidents in Okinawa over the years has led to considerable public uproar over crimes linked to U.S. troops in Japan, including a long history of individual and gang rapes, robberies and murder by military personnel linked to the Okinawa bases.