A former civilian employee of the Department of Defense arrived in the United States Friday from Germany to face a charge for assaulting a U.S. military member in the Republic of Korea last year.
According to court documents, Gerald Leon Ray III, 25, of Lathrop, California, intentionally struck an individual in the side of the head, causing the victim serious bodily injury. The alleged assault occurred on July 26, 2020, in the Republic of Korea, where Ray was employed by the Defense Commissary Agency, a component of the Department of Defense. The victim was an active-duty member in the U.S. Army.
On June 17, a grand jury in the Eastern District of California indicted Ray on one count of assault resulting in serious bodily injury. The charge was brought under the Military Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act (MEJA), which establishes U.S. jurisdiction over certain offenses committed abroad by, among others, civilian employees of the Armed Forces.
On Oct. 13, U.S. military authorities arrested Ray on a U.S. military installation in Germany. That same day, Ray had his initial appearance remotely before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeremy Peterson. On Oct. 14, Judge Peterson ordered that Ray be removed from Germany to the United States pursuant to MEJA.
Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite Jr. of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, Acting U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert of the Eastern District of California, Special Agent Andrew D. Franz of the U.S. Air Force Office of Special Investigations – Osan Air Base Korea and Special Agent in Charge Sean Ragan of the FBI’s Sacramento Field Office made the announcement.
The U.S. Air Force Office of Special Investigations and the FBI are investigating this case, with valuable assistance by the U.S. Army’s Criminal Investigation Division and U.S. Marshals Service in connection with the arrest, initial detention and transport of Ray.
Trial Attorney John-Alex Romano of the Criminal Division’s Human Rights and Special Prosecutions Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Heiko P. Coppola for the Eastern District of California are prosecuting the case.
An indictment is merely an allegation, and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.