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Kosovo Soldier Faces More Charges

March 16, 2000

PRISTINA, Yugoslavia (AP) _ A U.S. Army sergeant accused of killing an ethnic Albanian girl in Kosovo now faces additional charges of rape and sodomy in the case, U.S. officials said Thursday.

The charges against Staff Sgt. Frank J. Ronghi stem from the slaying of an 11-year-old girl whose body was found in the countryside near Vitina, in southwestern Kosovo, on Jan. 13. The Army said the new charges came after further investigation.

Ronghi, who was serving with the NATO-led peacekeeping mission in Kosovo, was charged Jan. 18 with murder and indecent acts with a child. The case marked the first time a peacekeeper from any country has been accused of such serious crimes since the 50,000-strong peacekeeping force entered the province last June.

The first step in the Army’s case against Ronghi is a proceeding similar to a grand jury investigation or a preliminary hearing. The hearing will determine if there is enough evidence to court-martial Ronghi. He could face the death penalty if convicted.

A date for the hearing has not yet been set, the Army said.

Ronghi, 35, of Niles, Ohio, is being held in the U.S. Army’s confinement facility in Mannheim, Germany.

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