The U.S. Army has accused Private Travis King of several crimes, including running into North Korea in July, assaulting fellow soldiers, and trying to get child pornography. They’ve made eight different charges against him under military law. He’s now in a legal battle, and he was released from North Korean custody in September.
The Army hasn’t commented on this yet. Travis King’s mother, Claudine Gates, has asked for people to assume her son is innocent and expressed her love for him. She believes something happened to him while he was in the Army and hopes the Army will investigate.
For weeks, the Army has been silent about whether King would face punishment, as they were more focused on getting him the care he needed after being held in North Korea for two months. He was released in September after negotiations led by the Swedish government, and he was brought back to the U.S. via China.
Travis King was taken to a military hospital in Texas for medical evaluations, including for his mental health.
We don’t know much about what happened to him in North Korean custody, and he hasn’t explained why he went to North Korea on July 19. However, the Army has accused him of bad behavior even before that, including trying to escape from U.S. military custody in October 2022.
One of the charges against him is for trying to get someone on Snapchat to make child pornography. He’s also charged with having child pornography. He’s accused of breaking Army rules by leaving his base after curfew and drinking alcohol.
Travis King’s family has hired a legal team to defend him, including Franklin Rosenblatt, who was the lead lawyer in a similar military case. His mother is looking forward to her son getting a fair trial.
Travis King joined the Army in January 2021 and had faced allegations of assault in South Korea. He admitted to assaulting someone and damaging a police car. Instead of paying a fine, he chose to spend over a month in South Korean detention.
He was supposed to face punishment in the U.S. after his release from South Korean detention. However, instead of going home, he ran away from Seoul’s airport and went to the border between North and South Korea. He then crossed into North Korea and was taken into their custody.
One of the charges against him is desertion. The Army says he left the Army in South Korea with no intention of coming back, and he remained absent until around September 27, 2023.