U.S. Sailor Arrested Near Tokyo for Allegedly Groping Teenage Girl

A U.S. sailor was arrested late Wednesday for allegedly groping a high school girl near Tokyo, Japanese police said Thursday.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Danny Joseph Valerie, 47, stationed in Yokosuka, southwest of Tokyo, was arrested on the spot on suspicion of touching the 15-year-old high school girl's breast and bottom, pressing him against her and kissing her outside a train station, Kanagawa prefectural (state) police official said on condition of anonymity, citing protocol.

The police official said the girl, whose name and other identity were not released because she is a minor, was not injured from the assault.

Valerie's hometown was not immediately available, the official added.

The arrest comes at a crucial time for the Japan-U.S. alliance.

The mayor of Yokosuka on Wednesday reversed his earlier opposition and announced he would accept the U.S. Navy's planned deployment of the USS George Washington, a Nimitz-class nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, for the first time in 2008 to replace the USS Kitty Hawk currently in service. But many residents are still opposed to the plan.

The change is part of an overall plan to restructure and streamline the 50,000-strong U.S. military presence in Japan, and raise the U.S. ally's profile in securing the Asia-Pacific region.

Japanese residents near U.S. military facilities have long concerned about noises and crimes associated with the bases.

A Japanese court this month convicted a U.S. sailor of fatally beating a Japanese woman near the U.S. Navy base in Yokosuka in January.