Three U.S. sailors head home after 14 months in Australian jail

PERTH, Australia (AP) — A jury acquitted three U.S. Navy sailors on Thursday of raping a 15-year-old Australian schoolgirl while on leave last year, releasing the men after more than one year in jail.
Damian Hargrove, 21, of Louisiana, Daryl Benson, 21, of Texas, and Timothy Tolbert, 25, of Georgia, were found innocent of 12 charges of sexual penetration and indecent assault. The hometowns of Benson and Tolbert were not known.
The three were flying home Thursday night, said Navy Lt. Cmdr. Mary Harrigan.
The sailors were on leave from the San Diego-based aircraft carrier USS Constellation when the girl alleged she was raped on May 5, 1997, at a hotel in Perth, on the southwest coast of Australia.
The sailors, who said they had consensual sex with her, were jailed 14 months from their arrest.
The Perth District Court jury took 2 hours to reach its verdict.
Outside court, the sailors said they held no grudge against the Australian legal system or their accuser.