An Army private who fled to North Korea was returned to the United States last month and is now in military custody. Pvt. Travis King is facing a range of charges, including desertion and possession of explicit child images.
This development comes as a significant turn of events for the 23-year-old soldier.
King’s detention and the eight counts against him, including desertion and other alleged offenses, were detailed in a charging document by The Associated Press.
The officials who confirmed King’s confinement chose to remain anonymous because the charges were not publicly disclosed.
King’s mother, Claudine Gates, expressed her love and concern for her son’s mental health in a statement. She urged that her son be given the presumption of innocence in the legal proceedings.
Among the charges, desertion is a particularly severe offense, carrying the possibility of a three-year prison sentence.
In addition to desertion, King is accused of assaulting other officers, unlawfully possessing alcohol, making false statements, and possessing explicit material featuring a child.
The child exploitation allegation dates back to July 10, the same day King was released from a South Korean prison, where he had served nearly two months for assault charges.
US Army Private’s Daring Escape to North Korea Shocks the World
A week after his release in South Korea, King made headlines by fleeing across the heavily fortified border into North Korea, becoming the first American to be detained in North Korea in nearly five years.
He was slated to be sent to Fort Bliss, Texas, where he could have faced additional disciplinary actions and potential discharge.
According to officials, King was initially escorted to the airport, but he unexpectedly left and later joined a civilian tour of the Korean border village of Panmunjom.
He seized the opportunity to run across the border despite the presence of guards and tourists in the area.
After approximately two months of detention in North Korea, Pyongyang abruptly announced its decision to expel him. On September 28, King was flown to an Air Force base in Texas, marking his return to the United States.
The circumstances surrounding Pvt. Travis King’s actions and his subsequent detention have raised numerous questions, and the legal proceedings ahead will shed more light on this complex situation.
Source: AP News