Kadena student pleads guilty to sexually assaulting incapacitated classmate

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 Lockers line a hallway in a Department of Defense school at Kadena Air Base, Okinawa.    Kadena Air Base
From Stripes.com
Lockers line a hallway in a Department of Defense school at Kadena Air Base, Okinawa. Kadena Air Base

Kadena student pleads guilty to sexually assaulting incapacitated classmate

by: Matthew M. Burke | .
Stars and Stripes | .
published: December 04, 2014

CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — A Kadena High School student who allegedly raped an incapacitated classmate in front of other students and recorded the assault on his cellphone has pleaded guilty to sexual abuse in a plea deal with federal prosecutors in Minnesota, officials say.

Ricky Isiah Sherwood, who was 18 at the time of the incident, was originally charged with two counts of sexual abuse, production of child pornography and possession of child pornography, according to court documents. The incident occurred in February at the Kadena Air Base home of his legal guardian and uncle, a Marine Corps staff sergeant.

Under the deal reached on Nov. 14, Sherwood pleaded guilty to a charge that he knowingly engaged in a sex act with the then 17-year-old female, who was incapable of comprehending what was going on and unable to consent, said Tasha Rose Terry, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Minneapolis. The plea deal was filed with the court under seal, so terms weren’t available.

Sherwood, of White Bear Lake, Minnesota, is slated for sentencing in late January or early February 2015, Terry said.

His attorney, Andrew Mohring, could not immediately be reached for comment.

Sherwood’s federal indictment in May shocked Okinawa’s tightly knit military community. It was reported that the victim was taken to the U.S. Naval Hospital on nearby Camp Foster for evaluation on Feb. 11, after counselors spotted her at an on-base park. She said she had no recollection of events after a second cup of alcohol.

The evidence, including witness statements and video from Sherwood’s cell phone, suggested he had sex with the teen, who appeared to be in distress during the encounter and was unable to stand, walk or dress herself afterward. Sherwood later reported to work on base as a part-time lifeguard and did not appear intoxicated, co-workers told investigators.

Investigators said Sherwood later admitted he provided alcohol to those present at his home and had sex with the girl. He produced the video he recorded on his cellphone.

Three additional alleged sexual assaults involving Kadena High School students came to light in the following weeks. School officials said at the time that Kadena students were given military-style Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Training that had been modified for them.

burke.matt@stripes.com