Christopher Daniel Browning senior year at Athens High School. (Source: Athens High School)
ATHENS, TX (KLTV) -
An East Texas sailor is sentenced to 10 years in a Japanese prison after pleading guilty to raping and robbing an Okinawan woman.
Seaman Christopher Browning of Athens, 24, and Petty Officer 3rd Class Skyler Dozierwalker of Muskogee, Oklahoma, admitted to committing the crimes while temporarily deployed to Japan with their unit.
Reports released following the investigation say prosecutors sought up to 12 years for Browning who they say robbed the Okinawan woman of about $87 after the rape, but reports say the defense argued that too excessive.
Both men confessed to the crime, Browning was sentenced to 10 years in a Japanese prison while Dozierwalker was sentenced to nine years.
Christopher Jenks is a professor at the SMU Dedman School of Law. He has served more than 20 years in the military and specializes in military law.
Professor Jenks said the outcome was not a surprise.
"Sadly, no. Under the status of forces agreement we have with Japan, they had primary jurisdiction over the offense," Jenks said.
Back in October, ABC News reported that an Okinawan woman said she had been sexually assaulted and robbed in front of her apartment building.
Seaman Browning faced charges of rape by group resulting in injury and robbery, allegations he denied.
Dozierwalker faced a charge of rape by group resulting in injury, it is a charge authorities said he confessed to.
Further into the investigation, authorities said Browning confessed and said the men had been drinking prior to the incident.
There are also reports that the crime was captured on security cameras.
"Essentially, the rape took place over some 50 minutes and all of which was shown to a Japanese court. So, there's damning, damning evidence," Jenks said.
Professor Jenks believed it may have played out differently had the U.S. obtained jurisdiction.
"It is disconcerting that I would say on average, a U.S. service member who is convicted of rape in Japan receive the sentence of roughly twice as long as the average Japanese that is convicted in Japan of rape," Jenks explained.
The Japanese court convicted the sailors, who are now sentenced to years in a Japanese prison.
"A Japanese prison is extremely regimented and very austere. Hours and hours of just sitting by yourself. Not able to read or do anything. Now, the Japanese in response to I think in response to our criticism that that's cruel. The Japanese would point out, I think, that they have no prison gangs, you are not going to be sexually assaulted in a Japanese prison. Now, the American service members while being incarcerated in Japanese prison because of the status of forces agreement are afforded frankly, better treatment than Japan affords it's other prisoners," Jenks said.
Browning's father declined to comment on camera, but said his son was always a "good boy." KLTV also spoke to former teachers of Browning who said they had never had any problems with him in school and were "shocked" at the allegations.
This case has resulted in stricter alcohol rules and a curfew for the 50,000 U.S. Military Personnel stationed in the country.
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