GROPING & MOLESTATION CASES

JIADEP NOTES: Crowded trains make for creeping hands. Gropers (Japanese: chikan) should be caught and punished. Unfortunately, the wrong men often get caught. The swelling amount of wrongfully charged defendants in groping cases became the theme of a recent, superb movie: "I just didn't do it."

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2013 Man found not guilty of groping a female police officer 2013/June 54 year old man found not guilty of groping woman on subway.

2012 Molestation Charge: "Victim suspected of lying." Man found not guilty. (2012) Molestation: 60 Year old doctor not guilty. "Examination was reasonable."
June 2010
Mother of falsely accused groper who killed himself seeks justice
Read

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Molestation Crackdown

May 8, 2010 TOKYO — The Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department and the prefectural police departments of Saitama, Chiba and Kanagawa detained 77 men during a crackdown on lewd acts on trains and at stations from April 15-21. According to the police, 78 incidents of groping and other lewd acts were reported. Of the 77 suspects detained, 49 were actually arrested. Of the 77, 37.7% (29) have a criminal record for molestation or performing lewd acts, police said. Also, over half (48) were company employees. The targeted areas were the Keio, JR Chuo and Saikyo lines. Most incidents occurred in the train, followed by escalators in stations. The main offense on trains was groping, followed by taking up-skirt photos and indecent exposure. Of those detained, 26 were in their 30s, 21 were in their 40s, 16 in their 20s, 9 in their 50s, and 5 were in their teens. Police said there were no assaults in trains on the Saikyo line which has security cameras installed. A police spokesman said, “There are stickers that say cameras are installed, so perhaps that acted as a deterrent.”
2009/12/05

Taxi driver acquitted of child prostitution charge 2009/12/05 Kyodo

The Nagoya District Court on Friday acquitted a 69-year-old taxi driver indicted over child prostitution on the grounds that testimony by the girl allegedly involved was untrustworthy. Judge Mitsuru Horiuchi said the testimony was not credible ‘‘as it changed repeatedly in accordance with the development of the investigation.’‘ The driver was arrested and indicted for paying 10,000 yen to the female high school student in Komaki, Aichi Prefecture, in May last year and touching her body in his cab. While denying the charges initially, he later admitted to them to avoid inquiries and was ordered to pay a fine of 400,000 yen, according to his lawyer. But he then pleaded not guilty again and asked for trial.

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2009/10/16 Okita
Suit over groping charge dismissed

The Tokyo District Court on Monday dismissed a damages suit filed by a man who said he was arrested and detained based on a false allegation he groped a woman on the JR Chuo Line in Tokyo. image


Mitsuo Okita speaks at a news conference Monday in Hachioji, Tokyo, after his damages suit over a case of alleged groping was dismissed by the Tokyo District Court.

The court rejected the suit filed by Mitsuo Okita, of Kunitachi, western Tokyo, demanding about 10 million yen from the central government, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government and the woman, whose age was not given.
Okita was held for 21 days before a decision was made not to indict him.
"The woman's testimony of what happened has detailed information and was highly credible," said Shinichiro Matsumaru, the presiding judge.
"The plaintiff's testimony is unnatural, illogical and cannot be trusted," he said. "The arrest and detention were appropriate in light of the law."
Okita plans to appeal, his lawyers said.
According to the ruling, Okita, 63, groped the woman, who was 20 years old at the time, on the night of Sept. 2, 1999, while on his way home on the JR Chuo Line. He was arrested at the scene and was accused of groping the woman by pushing his body against her, violating a Tokyo ordinance designed to prevent such acts.
During the trial, Okita told the court that as the train was approaching JR Mitaka Station he told a female college student not to talk on her cell phone.
When he got off at Kunitachi Station, the student told police he groped her -- out of spite, Okita said.
"There is only one truth," Okita told reporters after the ruling. "The truth will eventually win."
During the trial, it was also revealed that Tokyo prosecutors mistakenly disposed of Okita's records in June 2001 because they thought the documents only had to be kept for one year instead of three. Seven prosectors were punished after the incident.

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2009/10/06
Citizen Arrest of Gropers: Unreliable
October 6, 2009

The National Police Agency wants more Tokyo-area police officers — rather than civilians — to be the initial arresting parties in cases of alleged groping on trains in light of the rising number of acquittals due to insufficient evidence. The NPA ordered the Metropolitan Police Department and the Saitama and Kanagawa prefectural forces on Monday to introduce steps to increase officer-initiated arrests. Citizens’ arrests of someone caught red-handed are legal and common in groping cases, usually initiated by the alleged victim. But authorities have a hard time gathering incriminating evidence as well as witnesses, and often end up having to rely on the claim made by the victims. The NPA order was issued at a meeting of officers in charge of groping cases on crowded commuter trains. Masahito Kanetaka, head of the NPA Criminal Investigation Bureau, underscored the importance of arrests made by police, noting that investigators bear a grave responsibility when deciding whether to detain people collared by civilians. The NPA recently compiled guidelines on train groping cases after the Supreme Court in June acquitted a professor of the National Defense Medical College who had been indicted in 2006 for allegedly molesting a 17-year-old high school girl on a packed Odakyu Line train in Tokyo. The guidelines urge thorough investigations to obtain witnesses and gather evidence that can back up the testimony of alleged victims. The NPA instruction came with a perfect example Monday, with police in Nagoya arresting a high school teacher on suspicion of groping a 17-year-old high school student on a morning train. Koji Inukai, 44, an English teacher at Nagoya Kita High School, allegedly groped the same girl on more than 10 occasions since last fall. The student had consulted the police. On Monday, five officers accompanied her.
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2009/04/16 Professor

Supreme court issues groping acquittal Thursday, April 16, 2009

Professor 'thankful' of being cleared in first appeal to overturn upheld molestation conviction Kyodo News The Supreme Court has acquitted a college professor of groping a high school girl on a train, marking the first time the top court has overturned a guilty verdict in a molestation case. The Tuesday ruling by the Third Petty Bench overturned lower court rulings that threatened to put Masahiro Nagura, a professor of Japanese intellectual history at National Defense Medical College, in prison for 22 months. Nagura, 63, has been suspended from teaching since the indictment. He said after the ruling that the top court's verdict "rid me of the feelings of distrust I had against the judicial system. . . . I couldn't stop crying. All I was able to say to my wife was 'Thanks.' " "I'm thankful for the not-guilty verdict on my case. But I have no appropriate words to express my feelings about people who have been branded as criminals (through wrongful accusations) and their families," he said. The case turned on the credibility of the girl's testimony, which three of the five justices found fault with. According to the majority opinion of the court, it was unnatural for the girl, who testified that the groping began before the Odakyu Line train arrived at Seijogakuenmae Station, to get off the train and board it again at the same station, and then to stand near the professor. However, Justice Mutsuo Tahara, who presided over the bench, and another justice dissented, saying the girl's testimony was "trustworthy." "It's regrettable (the top court) denied that the victim's testimony was credible. But we will take the court's decision seriously," said Masayuki Ikegami, head of the division in charge of trials at the Supreme Public Prosecutor's Office. Yukiko Tsunoda, a lawyer knowledgeable about sexual crimes targeting women, said the ruling was "based on ancient and false assumptions" that a woman who pleads that she has been sexually assaulted tends to make false statements. "The girl has no reason to make up a story that she has been molested," Tsunoda said. The top court called on the lower courts to make "a careful judgment" in cases involving groping on packed trains because it is often difficult to gather objective evidence and the depositions by the alleged victims tend to serve as the only evidence. This is the first opinion presented by the Supreme Court on how to examine a groping case, and it is expected to influence future investigations and decisions, observers said. According to Nagura's lawyer, there have been more than 30 molestation cases across the nation in which the accused was acquitted since 1998. Looking back on the past three years since his arrest in April 2006, Nagura said he "feels resentment" at the way the lower courts handled the case, asking, "How dare they make light of a person's life?" Nagura said that after the high court handed him a 22-month prison term, the presiding judge told him he "still had the Supreme Court" to appeal to if he wanted to continue the battle. Nagura was charged with molesting the girl, who was then 17, on the morning of April 18, 2006. According to Nagura, the girl grabbed his tie without warning and screamed, "This person is a groper!"

防衛医科大教授に二審も実刑電車内で女子高生痴漢 (High Court Conviction) 2007/08/23)

 電車内で女子高生に痴漢行為をしたとして強制わいせつ罪に問われ、無罪を主張していた防衛医科大学校教授名倉正博被告(62)=休職中=の控訴審判決で、東京高裁は23日、懲役1年10月(求刑懲役2年6月)とした一審東京地裁判決を支持、被告側の控訴を棄却した。  争点となった女子高生の証言の信用性について、阿部文洋裁判長は「具体的で疑問を差し挟む余地はない」と述べた。  弁護人の秋山賢三弁護士は「目撃証言もなく、完全な冤罪(えんざい)事件。被害者の話をなぞっただけの判決には納得できない。高齢で痴漢するはずもない人間への理解力が足りない」と批判、上告した。  判決によると、名倉被告は昨年4月18日朝、小田急線の電車内で17歳の女子高生の下着の中に手を入れるなどした。  弁護側は「被告の指からは下着の繊維が検出されていない」と主張したが、判決は「下着に触れたのはかなり短時間で、繊維が付着しにくい状況だった」と退けた。

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Fabricating groping story earns 5 1/2 years behind bars. 2008/10/25 OSAKA

The Osaka District Court on Friday sentenced a former college student to five and a half years in prison for fabricating an accusation of groping against an innocent man in order to claim settlement money. The defendant, Fumiyuki Makita, 24, ‘‘caused tremendous humiliation to the falsely accused victim’’ to fulfill his greed for money, Judge Hiroaki Higuchi said. Prosecutors had sought a sentence of eight years in prison. Makita, who conspired with a 31-year-old woman, reported to police that Kazuo Kokubu, 59, had groped her on an Osaka subway train on Feb 1, according to the ruling. Makita was also in court on charges of theft. The false groping case came to light when the woman confessed to the police after suffering from a guilty conscience. She was then found guilty of false accusation. The victim, Kokubu, told a press conference after the ruling, ‘‘It would have been up to me to fight the legal battle if the faked story had not been discovered.’ Note: the woman received a suspended sentence.

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2004/06/15 Kochi
Kochi-city: Table tennis instructor wins appeal over molesting young girl
June 15, 2004


TAKAMATSU -- An appeal court on Tuesday acquitted a table tennis instructor of molesting a young girl while he was teaching her. The Takamatsu High Court overturned the Kochi District Court ruling that sentenced the 46-year-old defendant to eight months in prison, suspended for three years, for indecent assault. "Statements made by the girl and her parents changed a number of times, and cannot be fully trusted. Prosecutors failed to submit sufficient proof of the crime the defendant was accused of having committed," Presiding Judge Hiroshi Furukawa said as he acquitted the instructor. The defendant, who requested not to be named, welcomed the ruling. "I'm really glad that I've been found not guilty. I hope that law enforcers will never falsely accuse innocent people again." A high-ranking prosecutor criticized the ruling. "The ruling was totally unexpected and extremely regrettable. After closely examining the ruling, we'll make a decision on how to respond to it," said Masato Tachizawa, the second-in-command at the Takamatsu High Public Prosecutors Office. The man was arrested in July 2002 on suspicion of molesting a young girl in April in a warehouse attached to the gymnasium of a municipal elementary school in Kochi while he was giving her instruction on table tennis. The Kochi District Court convicted the man in March last year, prompting him to appeal the ruling to the high court. (Compiled from wire reports, Japan, June 15, 2004)

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2008/03/19 Bookshop


Man acquitted of groping employees Detained for 18 months The Japan Times: Wednesday, March 19, 2008

YOKOSUKA, Kanagawa Pref. (Kyodo) The Yokosuka branch of the Yokohama District Court acquitted a man Tuesday of groping two female employees at his bookshop in Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture, casting doubt on the employees' testimonies. Judge Takashi Chubachi said: "The testimonies . . . are inconsistent and unnatural even though carrying out the crime as testified is not impossible. There is still a reasonable doubt that prevents concluding that the defendant committed such crimes." The man, owner of a secondhand bookstore, stood accused of touching a part-time worker on many occasions between February and March 2005 inside the store and hugged another part-timer in February 2005, also inside the store. Both employees were 18-year-old high school girls at the time. "Similar (acquittal) rulings have been delivered over groping and other allegations in various regions," Judge Chubachi said after handing down the ruling. "It's regrettable that the trial took a long time. Please take care of your health," he said. The man was arrested in May 2005 and detained for about 18 months.

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2007/12/29 Nagoya
Local bigwig claims compensation for 2 days
in jail after molestation acquittal
2007/12/29

NAGOYA -- A local government official has been awarded 25,000 yen in compensation for being detained for two days on a molestation charge of which he was later acquitted, his lawyer said. The Nagoya Summary Court has handed down the decision in response to a demand made by the 44-year-old official of the Aichi Prefectural Government under the Criminal Compensation Law. He was arrested for molesting a university student on a JR Chuo Line train on Jan. 13 last year, and released the following day after he admitted to the allegations. However, he subsequently pleaded not guilty to the charges. In October this year, the Nagoya Summary Court found him not guilty of violating an Aichi prefectural ordinance prohibiting people from creating a nuisance over the case, citing a lack of evidence. The acquittal was fixed after prosecutors abandoned appealing the ruling to a higher court.

痴漢:無罪男性の拘置補償を認定--名古屋簡裁

 通勤の満員電車で痴漢行為をしたとして愛知県迷惑防止条例違反の罪に問われ、名古屋簡裁で無罪判決が確定した同県職員の男性(44)が、刑事補償法に基づき拘置された2日分の補償金2万5000円を国に請求し、名古屋簡裁が認める決定を出していたことが28日分かった。男性の弁護人が明らかにした。  男性は06年1月13日、JR中央線の電車内で女子大生に下腹部を押しつけるなどしたとして、県警鉄道警察隊に現行犯逮捕され、容疑を認めたため翌日釈放された。その後否認に転じ、同年8月在宅起訴されたが、名古屋簡裁は今年10月「客観的な裏付けに欠ける」などとして無罪を言い渡した。検察側は控訴期限までに控訴せず無罪が確定した。【岡崎大輔】

毎日新聞 20071229日 東京朝刊 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

2007/05/23 Abe Case

Court acquits man of molesting school girl after deeming she may have lied 2007/05/23

HAKODATE, Hokkaido -- A local court acquitted a man Wednesday of molesting an elementary school girl after determining that the girl may have lied. The Hakodate District Court found Kazuhiro Abe, 52, an unemployed man, not guilty to indecent assault on the girl, who was 10 years old in June 2005 when the incident was supposed to have occurred. "There are rational doubts about the allegations that the defendant molested the girl. There is suspicion that the girl made false statements. There is no proof that the defendant committed the crime," Judge Ryutaro Okada said as he handed down the ruling. Abe was arrested on July 5, 2005, for molesting the girl. He was subsequently hit with a new arrest warrant on suspicion of molesting the same girl in June 2005. Abe categorically denied any involvement in the two cases. Prosecutors indicted him over the June 2005 case while dropping charges over the other incident. His defense counsel contested the charges. "The girl's statements changed from time to time, and are inconsistent. She lied." Following the ruling, Abe criticized law enforcers at a news conference. "I fought over the past two years, believing that I would be found not guilty. So I wasn't surprised at the ruling," he said. "Law enforcers investigated the case on the assumption that the girl never told a lie. They should've conducted fair and unbiased investigations." Prosecutors criticized the court for not evaluating evidence submitted by them in a fair manner, and are considering whether to appeal the ruling to a higher court. (Mainichi)

May 23, 2007

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2007/04/18


Police get scientific in the battle against rush-hour gropers 04/18/2007 THE ASAHI SHIMBUN

As the war on sexual molestation on trains continues, police are now using scientific investigatory methods to stamp out chikan. In a growing number of chikan, or groping, cases, police are now using forensic analysis to match microscopic fibers from the victim's clothes and underwear with the sweaty palms of the suspect. The methods can produce strong supportive evidence to prove the case. At the same time, hard forensic analysis can also help prove the innocence of those falsely accused. The Metropolitan Police Department was one of the first police departments around the nation to adopt the scientific approach. According to Tokyo police, the number of groping investigations employing fiber analysis is growing annually. Last year, there were 326 cases. In January this year, a researcher from the Criminal Investigation Laboratory of the Metropolitan Police Department gave testimony at the Tokyo District Court. A former university professor was standing trial for allegedly groping a female high school student on a train. The former professor had denied the charges. The researcher delivered the scientific evidence at the witness stand: "Fiber samples taken from the (girl's) skirt demonstrated an extremely close match with the fibers that were retrieved from the former professor's finger--in terms of color, shape and thickness." The trial continues. Tokyo police first applied fiber analysis to investigate groping cases in 1997. That year, the criminal investigation laboratory conducted only one fiber analysis relating to a chikan investigation. In 2004, the number had grown dramatically. There were 117 investigations where fiber analyses were used. In 2005 there were 192, and then 326 last year. An official at the lab said there had been a surge in fiber analysis requests this year due to the amount of media coverage regarding chikan suspects later found innocent by the court. "Prosecutors are now stepping up their efforts to prepare as much concrete evidence as possible," the official said. Here's the procedure for collecting evidence: A special adhesive film is used to collect all extraneous matter from the suspect's fingers, both front and back; the hands, both palms and back. The victim is requested to submit the clothes she was wearing at the time, including the skirt or pants, and underwear for fiber sampling. The lab then compares the samples using a microscope to see if there are any matching fibers. There may be a variation according to the types of fiber and whether or not there was any sweating. But according to specialists, in general, the transfer of fiber seldom occurs when a hand is casually brushed against a garment. Most often, the transfer will occur when the hand rubs against the fabric or grabs at the fabric for a period of time. The researchers analyze the microscopic fibers that typically measure about five-hundredths of a millimeter in diameter, checking for matches in the fibers' material, features and color. The analysis procedure is thorough. There are more than 200 classifications for color alone. "Once we come to the conclusion there is a similarity, the degree of accuracy is extremely high--almost watertight." According to the lab, there was a case in which a suspect, who had adamantly denied the accusation, suddenly relented once he was informed of the analysis results. But a lack of matching fiber samples alone will not exonerate the suspect from the charges; it will, however, make the investigation team move more carefully. Nobuyoshi Araki, a professor at Rikkyo University, is well versed in chikan cases where suspects are falsely charged. "In order not to be totally reliant on confessions and statements, it is absolutely necessary to apply fiber analysis and other scientific criminal investigating as much as possible," he said. "It should also be a requirement of the courts for there to be thorough investigation, including scientific criminal investigating."(IHT/Asahi: April 18,2007)

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2006/10/19 Takeuchi
Prosecutor's pressure for confession ruled illegal. Husband and wife awarded damages for malfeasance.
2006/10/19 (More)
2006/03/09/ Seibu-Shinjuku


Seibu Shinjuku Case: Man acquitted of groping wants to regain 2½ years lost 2006/03/09/ The Asahi Shimbun

Time stopped on the morning of Oct. 22, 2003, for a family man. As he was leaving a crowded commuter train in Tokyo, a schoolgirl grabbed his hand and accused him of groping her. On Wednesday, the Tokyo High Court exonerated the man. But the 2½ years since the accusation was first lodged have taken their toll on the man and his family. The 43-year-old in Tokyo's Nakano Ward has lost his job, income and lifestyle, and was forced to live as a person branded a chikan (groper). His constant claims of innocence were ignored by seemingly everyone except for his wife, who suffered bouts of stress during the ordeal. Finally, the Tokyo High Court confirmed what he had saying all along. He never molested the girl and police made no efforts to thoroughly investigate the case. The high court overturned the Tokyo District Court's conviction and suspended sentence imposed on the man. "There is no doubt the student was the victim of a groper, but her testimony is not sufficient to convict the defendant," Presiding Judge Kunio Harada said in his ruling. Harada also cited sloppiness in the work of the investigators, and said they might have even misled the victim into believing the man was the culprit. "This is a case that would not have ordinarily led to an indictment," the judge said. The man wiped away the stream of tears that flowed upon hearing the not guilty ruling. He had been waiting for so long to hear those words. On Oct. 22, 2003, the man was riding in a crowded train on the Seibu Shinjuku Line. As he stepped onto the platform at Takadanobaba Station, the 16-year-old senior high school student stood in his way and yelled, "You've kept touching me!" She said he had slipped his hand inside her underwear on the train. He denied it, but went with her to the train station office to explain there must have been a misunderstanding. But he was taken to a police station in a squad car where detectives badgered him to "tell the truth." He insisted he was standing behind the schoolgirl on her right side and that another man, who appeared to be a foreigner, was behind him on the left side, and that he could have been responsible. The police didn't believe him. They held him in detention for 105 days, and he was indicted on an indecency charge. "If police had properly investigated, things wouldn't have turned out the way they did," the man said. "Police could have tested whether there was evidence on my hand. But I was made a criminal without even doing the test." A police officer even testified that such tests are usually done on suspected gropers to collect evidence, but the test was not conducted in the man's case. The prosecution's case was based largely on police arguments that the other man on the train could not have reached the victim. The Tokyo District Court found him guilty. The man had taken a long leave of absence from a printing company he had worked for 24 years to deal with his legal problems. He has yet to return to the company. He dug into his savings to pay for bail and cover his living expenses and legal costs. He had to sell off most of his collection of about 200 T-shirts, a hobby of his for more than 25 years. His son, born in the sixth year of his marriage, was only 2 years old at the time. The man had kept a daily log of his son's developments, but that stopped after that train ride on the Seibu Shinjuku Line. Desperate for money, the man started to help his father's gardening business, but he injured himself in a fall from a wall. Since then, he has relied on social welfare. He said the only thing that kept him going was his wife, who believed in his innocence. Immediately after the high court ruling, he called his wife with the news. "I want to regain the time that we lost," he said.(IHT/Asahi: March 9,2006)

男性に逆転無罪判決 西武新宿線痴漢事件で東京高裁 200603081512

東京高裁(原田国男裁判長)は8日、東京の私鉄・西武新宿線の満員電車で女性に痴漢をしたとして強制わいせつ罪に問われた東京都中野区の男性会社員(43)に対し、無罪の判決を言い渡した。懲役1年6カ月執行猶予3年(求刑懲役2年)とした一審・東京地裁判決を破棄した。  男性は「03年10月22日朝、西武新宿線新井薬師前高田馬場間の電車の中で、女子高校生(当時16)の下着の中に手を入れるなどした」として起訴されたが、一貫して無罪を主張していた。  原田裁判長は「女子高校生が被害に遭ったのは間違いないが、女子高校生の証言は男性を犯人とするには足りない」と述べた。  車内で男性は女子高校生の右後ろに立っていた。男性は「自分の後ろにいた外国人風の男が犯人の可能性がある」と主張していた。原田裁判長は「その可能性も退けられない」と男性側の言い分を認めた。  そのうえで、「警察がずさんともいえる再現実験で、外国人風の男の場所からは手が届かないと決めつけ、被害者を誤って誘導した可能性がある」と指摘。「本来なら起訴に至らなかった事案ではないか。(起訴されて生活苦に陥った)男性の苦難を考えるとき、慎重の上にも慎重を期した捜査が必要だ」と警察・検察を批判した。

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2006/02/15

強制わいせつ罪:被告に無罪 決定的証拠なし 京都地裁 毎日新聞 2006215

京都市南区の路上で04年10月、当時7歳の女児の下半身を触ったとして強制わいせつ罪に問われた住所不定の男性(26)に対し、京都地裁は15日、無罪(求刑・懲役2年6月)を言い渡した。東尾龍一裁判長は「犯人である可能性は濃厚だが、証拠である女児による識別は決定的とは評価できず、自白調書の証明力も低い」と述べた。  判決によると、男性は04年10月19日夕、女児のズボンの上から下半身を数回触ったとして05年2月に逮捕された。女児は顔や所持品から男性を犯人と特定し、男性も当初は容疑を認めたが、送検後に否認に転じた。  東尾裁判長は「被害当時は雨天で少し暗かった上、犯人の顔を観察できる時間が短かった」「調書も女児の供述以上の事実がなく、取調官に誘導されるがまま作成されたと言わざるをえない」などと指摘。「被告人以外の犯人がいた可能性も払しょくできない」と結論づけた。【太田裕之】 毎日新聞 2006215日 2234分 

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