Travis King, the US Army soldier who made international headlines after fleeing to North Korea in July, has been charged with desertion and several other crimes by the Army, according to a document obtained by CNN. The charges against King include possession of child pornography, assaulting fellow soldiers, and disobeying a superior officer. He now faces a total of eight counts.
King, 23, was recently arrested at Ft. Bliss in Texas and is currently in pretrial detention. His mother, Claudine Gates, issued a statement expressing her concern for his mental health and requesting that he be given the presumption of innocence. Gates also mentioned that she believes something happened to her son while he was deployed and spoke about the Army’s promise to investigate the alleged incident at Camp Humphries.
The Army has yet to comment on the situation when contacted by CNN.
King returned to the United States in September after crossing into North Korea without authorization. Prior to his departure, he had been released from detention in South Korea in connection with an assault incident at a club in Seoul. Court documents indicate that King allegedly pushed and punched a victim in the face during the October 2022 incident. He was supposed to board a flight to Texas for disciplinary proceedings but left when released at a security checkpoint in Seoul.
The next day, King joined a tour of the Joint Security Area before fleeing across the demarcation line into North Korea.
The case of Travis King has garnered significant attention due to the rare occurrence of a US soldier defecting to North Korea. CNN’s Laura Coates contributed to this report.