Indianhead Division Soldier Sentenced to 10 Years for Rape of 16-Year-Old in South Korea

The 2nd Infantry Division known as “2ID/Indianhead” is a formation of the United States Army. Its current primary mission is the defense of South Korea in the initial stages of an invasion from North Korea until other American units can arrive.

There are approximately 28,500 soldiers in the 2nd Infantry Division. Pfc. Kevin Flippin is one of those soldiers.

A South Korean court sentenced Pfc. Flippin to 10 years in prison today for raping a teenage South Korean girl — the second harshest punishment handed down to a convicted American soldier stationed there in nearly 20 years.

Uijeongbu District Court convicted the 21-year-old Army Private of sexually assaulting the 16-year-old girl numerous times after breaking into her small boarding room near Seoul in September, said court spokesman Lee Sang-yup.

Lee said Flippin committed many “sadistic and sexually perverted acts” while threatening the girl with a pair of scissors, a knife and a lighter.  And according to Lee, the soldier robbed the girl of 5,000 won ($4.50) as well.

The court verdict said the girl felt “terrified and sexually humiliated,” according to Lee.

The case, along with a separate rape allegation by a teenage girl against another U.S. soldier, prompted top U.S. military and government officials to offer public apologies.

“Our sincere apologies go out again to the victim, her family and the Korean community,” the 2nd Infantry Division said in a statement later Tuesday.

About a dozen South Korean activists rallied near the U.S. Embassy in Seoul, chanting slogans and holding placards, including one that said: “We need Obama’s apology!”

The court ordered Flippin to undergo 80 hours of counseling and his personal information to be made public on a South Korean government website for 10 years, Lee said.

Prosecutors had demanded a 15-year prison term. The court, however, decided on a 10-year sentence because Flippin had repented, was still young and the rape was his first crime, Lee said.

Both prosecutors and the soldier have one week to appeal, he said.

Crimes involving U.S. Military personnel have fired anti-American sentiments among many South Koreans.

The 2nd Infantry Division, unlike any other division in the Army, is made up partially of Korean soldiers, called KATUSAs (Korean Augmentation to US Army).   As of May 2006, approximately 1,100 KATUSA Soldiers serve with 2ID.

Following the latest rape case, the U.S. military reinstated a curfew for U.S. soldiers and increased joint patrols by U.S. soldiers and South Korean police around U.S. installations in South Korea.

Tuesday’s sentencing is the longest prison term for an American soldier stationed in South Korea since 1993, when a U.S. soldier was sentenced to life in prison for murdering a South Korean bar employee, according to the Foreign Ministry.

Women in the United States military are also victims of what is becoming a serious rape crisis. One in three female soldiers will experience sexual assault while serving in the military, compared to one in six women in the civilian world.

The Pentagon released a disturbing report in 2009 on sexual abuse in the military, saying that more than 2,900 sexual assaults were reported in 2008, up nearly 9 percent from 2007. Nearly two-thirds of the sexual assault cases reported involved rape or aggravated assault.