Manila, Philippines Philippine prosecutors charged four U.S. Marines with rape on Tuesday in a case seen as a test of a bilateral accord allowing American troops to train here.
Prosecutor Prudencio Jalandoni alleged in court documents that one of the Marines raped a 22-year-old woman in November inside a van at Subic Bay, a former U.S. naval base northwest of Manila, as fellow Marines cheered him on.
Another prosecutor, Raymond Viray, said the case would be a crucial test for the Visiting Forces Agreement, which allows American forces to conduct counterterrorism maneuvers with Filipino troops. Critics have expressed concerns that U.S. officials would use the accord to shield Marines from prosecution.
The four Marines have denied the accusations.