LOGIN

U.S. Military Detains Army Private Who Escaped to North Korea, Facing Desertion and Other Charges, Say Officials

by Andrew Wright
7 comments
U.S. Army Private Travis King Desertion

A U.S. Army private, who had previously fled to North Korea and was subsequently returned to American soil earlier this month, is currently in custody of the U.S. military. He is facing a series of charges, including desertion and possession of child sexual imagery, according to two unnamed officials who spoke on Thursday evening. The particulars of the eight charges leveled against Pvt. Travis King have been outlined in a legal document, which was viewed by The Big Big News. The sources spoke on the condition of anonymity, as the charges have yet to be officially disclosed to the public.

Claudine Gates, King’s mother, issued a statement asserting her son’s right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty. She stated, “As a mother, I understand my son well, and I believe that something occurred that altered his actions during his deployment.”

Desertion is a grave military offense that may lead to a prison sentence of up to three years.

King, aged 23, had crossed the heavily militarized boundary separating North and South Korea in July, becoming the first American to be apprehended in North Korea in almost half a decade.

This move came subsequent to his release from a South Korean penitentiary on July 10, where he had been incarcerated for close to two months on charges of assault. He was slated to be transferred to Fort Bliss in Texas, where further disciplinary actions and possibly discharge awaited him.

According to officials, King was taken to the airport and accompanied up to the customs area. However, rather than boarding the plane, he opted to leave, subsequently taking part in a civilian tour of the Korean border village of Panmunjom. He made his escape across the heavily guarded and frequently tourist-filled border in the afternoon.

Approximately two months later, North Korean authorities unexpectedly announced their decision to deport him. He was flown to an Air Force installation in Texas.

At that juncture, it was unclear to authorities why North Korea had elected to release King, although speculation posited that North Korean officials had likely assessed him to be of minimal value, either as a bargaining chip or as a source of intelligence.

While King was absent, U.S. Army leadership categorized him as being Absent Without Leave (AWOL) rather than officially labeling him a deserter—a designation that carries greater severity. To label King as a deserter, it would necessitate the Army’s conclusion that King had left with the intent of never returning. It should be noted that in times of active conflict, the crime of desertion can be punishable by death.

Service members may be declared AWOL for various durations but have the option to return voluntarily. The ensuing disciplinary actions can range from confinement to loss of pay or even dishonorable discharge, and these penalties are typically contingent upon the length of absence and the circumstances surrounding their return or capture.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about U.S. Army Private Travis King Desertion

What charges is U.S. Army Private Travis King facing?

Private Travis King is facing multiple charges, including desertion and possession of child sexual imagery, according to unnamed officials. The specifics of these charges have been outlined in a legal document.

Who disclosed the information about the charges?

Two unnamed officials disclosed the information about the charges against Private Travis King. They spoke on the condition of anonymity as the charges have not been officially made public.

What did King’s mother say about the situation?

Claudine Gates, King’s mother, issued a statement asserting that her son should be presumed innocent until proven guilty. She believes that some event during his deployment influenced his actions.

How did King end up in North Korea?

King crossed the heavily militarized border between South and North Korea in July, shortly after being released from a South Korean prison where he served nearly two months on assault charges.

Why did North Korea release King?

It is unclear why North Korean authorities decided to release King, although speculation suggests that they might have assessed him to be of minimal value, either as leverage or as a source of intelligence.

What are the penalties for desertion in the U.S. military?

Desertion is a grave offense in the U.S. military that may lead to imprisonment of up to three years. In times of war, the penalty for desertion can even be death.

What is the difference between being Absent Without Leave (AWOL) and being a deserter?

Being AWOL means a service member is absent without official permission but may return voluntarily. A deserter is someone who leaves with the intent of permanently avoiding service. The penalties for desertion are more severe than those for being AWOL.

What will happen to King now that he is in U.S. military custody?

Now that King is in U.S. military custody, he will likely face a military trial where the charges against him will be examined in detail. The potential penalties could range from confinement to loss of pay or even dishonorable discharge, depending on the outcome.

More about U.S. Army Private Travis King Desertion

  • U.S. Military Code on Desertion
  • Legal Definitions: AWOL vs Desertion
  • North Korea-U.S. Relations: A Historical Overview
  • U.S. Army Disciplinary Actions: An Overview
  • Current Status of U.S.-North Korea Relations
  • Legal Ramifications of Possession of Child Sexual Imagery in the U.S.
  • Military Trials: Procedures and Penalties

You may also like

7 comments

GaryInFinance October 20, 2023 - 4:22 am

Look, if you sign up for the military you gotta follow through. Desertion is a major issue. No excuses.

Reply
JohnDoe123 October 20, 2023 - 7:58 am

Wow, this story is crazy! can’t believe someone would actually flee to North Korea. What was he thinkin?

Reply
SarahM89 October 20, 2023 - 10:52 am

This is so complicated. I feel for the mother though, must be really tough for her. Isn’t desertion like super serious?

Reply
MikeTheAnalyst October 20, 2023 - 4:29 pm

Why North Korea of all places? and why did they release him? So many questions.

Reply
JaneQPublic October 20, 2023 - 5:21 pm

Stories like this remind me how complex international relations can get. I wonder what the political repercussions might be.

Reply
TechGuru October 20, 2023 - 11:41 pm

The legal implications here are huge. Desertion, child sexual imagery… this guy could be in for a long sentence.

Reply
PoliticalNerd October 20, 2023 - 11:48 pm

Would love to see a follow-up article diving deeper into the military laws around desertion and AWOL. Very curious how this will unfold in court.

Reply

Leave a Comment

logo-site-white

BNB – Big Big News is a news portal that offers the latest news from around the world. BNB – Big Big News focuses on providing readers with the most up-to-date information from the U.S. and abroad, covering a wide range of topics, including politics, sports, entertainment, business, health, and more.

Editors' Picks

Latest News

© 2023 BBN – Big Big News

en_USEnglish