Sat, Jun 02, 2007 - Page 4 News List

West Point cadet has no case to answer, Army says

By Jimmy Chuang  /  STAFF REPORTERS, WITH STAFF WRITER

What happened in the Tainan Evergreen Hotel last Friday between a West Point cadet and a Taiwanese college student did not constitute rape, Army Command Headquarters said in a statement released late on Thursday night.

"It is our finding that the West Point cadet did not force the woman to do anything she did not want to do, nor did he rape her. The woman did not accuse the cadet of doing any such thing," the release said. "As a result, we are of the opinion that the West Point cadet did nothing illegal. What happened between the pair was a tryst."

The statement was issued in response to a report in the Chinese-language United Daily News on Wednesday.

The report said a student surnamed Chuang from the Republic of China Military Academy last Friday escorted a West Point exchange student to a Tainan nightclub and invited a 24-year-old woman, who had been his elementary school classmate, to join them.

Later that night, the US cadet and the woman checked in to the Evergreen Hotel where they had sex, the report said. It added that the woman later complained to the academy that she felt "uncomfortable" about what had happened at the hotel.

The Army press release said that the academy's principal, Major General Chen Liang-pei (陳良沛), chaired a hearing on Thursday at which nine other officers, the young woman in question and two of her college's staff members were present.

After the hearing, the Army ruled that the West Point cadet had no case to answer. However, the punishments already meted out to members of the academy stand.

Chuang was placed on probation on Wednesday for "damaging the academy's reputation" by taking the cadet to "improper locations." On Thursday, the academy also announced punishments for several of its officials.

Meanwhile, columnist Johnny Neihu reports in today's issue of the Taipei Times that the United Daily News reporter who broke the story, Lee Kuang-yi (李光儀), was a prior acquaintance of the woman at the center of the story (see page 8).

A source at the United Daily News confirmed their acquaintance, which was not disclosed in Wednesday's report.

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