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Source: Rape-escape story likely didn't involve U.S. sailor

Apr. 26, 2013 - 06:00AM   |  
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News outlets across the world are reporting the dramatic story of a female U.S. sailor who fended off a knife-wielding attacker in Dubai and put him in a leg lock.

Turns out, the story is probably bogus — at least the part about the woman being a U.S. sailor.

Navy officials have uncovered no record of such a woman, and there were no U.S. Navy ships in Port Khalid, where her ship was said to have been in port.

According to news reports, the off-duty sailor was on 24-hour leave Jan. 19 in Dubai when her bus driver pulled off the main road, and allegedly threatened to rape her at knife point. The sailor “knocked the knife from his hand and broke it in two, bit him in the hand, forced him to the ground and locked him between her thighs,” the Daily Mail reported. The woman then reported the incident to her commander at Port Khalid.

The story was first reported by The National, an English-language publication in the United Arab Emirates, which put a story on its website on Wednesday, following a court case heard Tuesday in the Dubai Criminal Court. The story was also reported by The Washington Times, The Atlantic Wire and Cosmopolitan, among others, all saying the woman was a U.S. sailor.

It’s possible the woman, identified in one report as simply “MJ,” was a civilian mariner from the U.S.

After news first broke, Navy Times questioned service officials about the legitimacy of the reports. Navy officials have found no evidence to confirm “MJ” is a service member.

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