OAN’s James Meyers
11:42 AM – Friday, October 20, 2023
A United States Army soldier who fled to North Korea has been charged by the Army with multiple crimes.
According to documents obtained by NBC News, Pvt. 2nd Class Travis King has been charged with deserting, assaulting fellow soldiers and soliciting child pornography.
King was expelled by North Korea in September and was taken into U.S. custody in China. His release came two months after he ran across the border between North and South Korea, where he was stationed at the time.
In total, King has been charged with eight counts under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ). The charges include making false statements and disobeying superior officers.
The Army soldier has also been accused of soliciting a Snapchat user in July 2023 to “knowingly and willingly produce child pornography.”
However, according to a statement from King’s mother, Claudine Gates, asked that her son “be afforded the presumption of innocence.”
“The man I raised, the man I dropped off at boot camp, the man who spent the holidays with me before deploying did not drink,” Gates said. “A mother knows her son, and I believe something happened to mine while he was deployed. The Army promised to investigate what happened at Camp Humphreys, and I await the results.”
At the time of the detainment of King, North Korea’s state media reported that the Army soldier confessed to crossing into the North because of “inhuman maltreatment and racial discrimination within the U.S. Army.”
“During the investigation, Travis King confessed that he had decided to come over to the DPRK as he harbored ill feeling against inhuman maltreatment and racial discrimination within the U.S. Army,” state media outlet Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported. “He also expressed his willingness to seek refuge in the DPRK or a third country, saying that he was disillusioned at the unequal American society.”
Details about King’s treatment in North Korea have been kept at a minimum and his decision to flee to North Korea has not yet been publicly explained.
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