The soldier whose rape case is largely responsible for the curfew for American service members in South Korea is asking for a reduction in his 10-year sentence, Stripes reports.
Pvt. Kevin Lee Flippin, who drunkenly attacked a 17-year-old at knifepoint in her apartment near Camp Casey, expressed regret for his actions and asked for leniency.
His sentence for the four-hour assault was one of the most severe for a U.S. servicemember in South Korea in nearly 20 years, prompting some to suggest the defendant was unfairly punished because of the scrutiny his case received in South Korea and his status as an American soldier.
The attack has triggered protests, calls for revisions to the status of forces agreement with South Korea and apologies from American military officials.
This week, U.S. Forces Korea announced that the curfew will continue indefinitely and, starting Saturday, the hours will be revised to 1 to 5 a.m. every day, Stripes reports. The move comes after Gen. James D. Thurman, USFK commander, twice set deadlines for the curfew and then extended it.
The command rescinded the previous curfew July 2, 2010, which had been in place for nine years.
Stripes provided reporting from inside the South Korean courtroom:
While taking full responsibility and apologizing for his actions in the Sept. 24 rape of a 17-year-old Korean girl, Pvt. Kevin Lee Flippin told a three-judge Seoul High Court panel, “I think 10 years is a little too much.
“I know that I did a very bad thing,” he said during his brief statement. “This is the only time I did anything wrong to another human being.”
Flippin’s attorney, Noh Sucheol, said that while, “It goes without saying that the damage to the victim can’t be compensated by money,” she has been paid $20,000 in “compensation,” and an unspecified amount more will be given to her in the future.
In addition, he said Flippin “acted out of impulse” while drunk, and he “could not control [his]urge to hurt such a young girl.”
In South Korean courts, compensation paid to victims and a defendant’s degree of intoxication are factors often considered in sentencings and appeals.
Noh added that Flippin “enlisted in the service with big dreams,” and he served “diligently” prior to the attack.