Man raped women after luring them to be part of fake sleep study, sold video of the attacks

Police: Man raped women during sleep study
Police: Man raped women during sleep study

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Police: Man raped women during sleep study 01:37

Story highlights

  • Police said 54-year-old man used fake sleep study to drug, rape and film women
  • One woman said she saw herself in a video online
  • Local media has done little coverage of the crimes

(CNN)Police say around 100 women in Japan who thought they were participating in a sleep study were actually drugged and raped, their attacks recorded and sold to porn sites.

Authorities arrested 54-year-old Hideyuki Noguchi, after one of the women saw herself in a video online and came forward. Police investigated and arrested Noguchi, who has been charged with incapacitated rape, according to Chiba Prefecture Police spokesperson Satoshi Kono.
    Authorities say Noguchi has told them the number of victims is about 100. Officers have confirmed at least 39 of those victims, and have filed charges in many of those cases already. More women could come forward.
    The assaults allegedly began in 2012 when police say Noguchi took out a newspaper ad seeking participants for a sleep study. The ad sought women from their teens through their 40s and offered compensation for their time.
    Noguchi would then arrange for women to meet him at a hotel or a hot springs inn, according to authorities. He would allegedly tell women he planned to test their blood pressure while they slept. He reportedly told women he was a doctor, but police could not confirm that.
    But authorities say Noguchi has no medical training and the study was merely a ruse to isolate women, drug them with sleeping pills and alcohol, assault them and film the attacks.
    Kono said Noguchi sold the videos to unnamed pornographic filmmakers and adult websites, making around $100,000.
    Very little local coverage
    The case of the assaults has drawn international headlines -- but failed to resonate much in the local press.
    Roland Kelts, University of Tokyo professor and author of "Japanamerica," says the lack of media coverage has been "bizarre."
    "Usually sexual crimes are reported pretty avidly in Japan, especially in the tabloids," said Kelts. " The media sensationalizes these stories just like it does in the West."
    Kelts points to the recent kidnapping crisis and subsequent murders of ISIS hostages Kenji Goto and Haruna Yukawa, which have dominated Japan's national media headlines. There's also another grisly story gripping Japan about a murder of an elderly woman.
    After such a gruesome news cycle, Kelts says the media just "might not have the tastes" to cover the rapes, as they normally might do.
    What's more, police have released very little information about the alleged attacks, citing the victims' privacy. Authorities have granted no interviews on camera.
    Information or exclusive interviews on big stories is often given to newspaper beat reporters in Japan. But even they have been unusually short on information regarding Noguchi's alleged crimes.
    Recent changes to Japan's laws that regulate the classification of sensitive information have tightened punishments for leaking information.
    The so-called "state secrets" law was drafted under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and took effect late last year. The law imposes prison sentences of five to 10 years for leaking state secrets, depending on the position of the leaker.
    The law has been criticized by Internet activists and groups including Human Rights Watch and Reporters Without Borders.
    A 99% conviction rate
    Noguchi will most likely receive a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison, if convicted, according to Jin Imaeda, an attorney and former prosecutor in Japan.
    For the type of assault Noguchi is accused of, a conviction would lead to a maximum sentence of 20 years for a single victim, and 30 years if the number of victims is two or more.
    If convicted, Noguchi could be eligible for parole after serving 80% of that term, or 24 years, Imaeda said.
    The Japanese legal system does not sentence criminals to life imprisonment.
    Japan has a general conviction rate of more than 99%, according to the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo.
    Japanese prosecutors will often wait to bring charges against a suspect until they are certain they have a conviction. Thus, if charges are brought against someone for a crime in Japan, there is a near guarantee that he or she will be found guilty.