Five soldiers charged in Iraq rape-murder case
Mahmoudiya mayor says alleged rape victim was 14
(CNN) -- Four U.S. soldiers in Iraq are charged with participation in the "rape and murder of a young Iraqi woman and three members of her family," the U.S. military said Sunday.
A fifth soldier is accused of dereliction of duty for failing to report the offenses.
All five are charged with conspiring with former Pfc. Steven D. Green to commit the crimes, the military said, in connection with the incident in March in Mahmoudiya, Iraq.
There have been conflicting reports about the alleged rape victim's age. Sunday, Reuters news agency released documents indicating that she was 14.
Reuters said identification cards and death certificates give the victim's date of birth as August 19, 1991.
The mayor of Mahmoudiya confirmed that birth date to CNN.
However, a Justice Department affidavit in the case against Green says investigators estimated victim's age at about 25, while the U.S. military said she was 20.
The U.S. military statement Sunday made clear that officials are aware of the discrepancies and that her age is an important part of the investigation.
Green has been charged in a U.S. civilian court with rape and murder. Last week he pleaded not guilty in federal court in Kentucky.
Prosecutors have said Green shot and killed an Iraqi man, woman and child before raping a young female from the same family and killing her. (Watch leaders disagree on 'American justice' -- 1:24)
A Justice Department affidavit says Green and other soldiers planned to rape a young woman who lived near the checkpoint they manned in Mahmoudiya.
The affidavit says three soldiers allegedly accompanied Green into the house, and another soldier was told to monitor the radio while the assault took place.
The affidavit says Green shot the woman's relatives, including a girl of about 5; raped the young woman; then fatally shot her.
Soldiers are quoted in the affidavit as telling investigators that Green and his companions then set the family's house afire, threw an AK-47 rifle used in the killings into a canal and burned their bloodstained clothing.
Green was honorably discharged from the Army before the incident came to light after being diagnosed with an unspecified personality disorder, according to court papers.
The military charges against the five soldiers were issued Saturday. The military, in its news release, did not name them.
A U.S. defense official told CNN the five soldiers are still on their base in the Mahmoudiya area, have had their weapons taken away, and are being escorted everywhere they go on the base.
Green remains behind bars in Louisville, Kentucky.
The military, in its news release Sunday, wrote that the charges are "merely an accusation. Those accused are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt."
The statement said the soldiers still on active duty will face an Article 32 investigation, similar to a grand jury hearing in civilian law. The Article 32 proceeding will determine whether there is enough evidence to place them on trial.
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