A night of revelry involving military recruits on their way to basic training ended early Tuesday with the arrest of a 19-year-old Navy enlistee after he allegedly raped a female recruit and attacked six others at an Inglewood hotel.
Franklin Clarence Smith was arrested at about 1 a.m. after raping a 19-year-old woman from North Hollywood and attempting to rape six other young women, Inglewood police said.
The women were among about 100 enlistees staying at the Airport Park Hotel on Monday night, awaiting transportation to military bases around the country, police said.
The hotel provides accommodations for the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines under a three-year contract, according to hotel managing director Dan Jones.
Smith, of Carson, was scheduled to leave Tuesday for a physical and swearing in at the Navy Training Center in San Diego, according to police and Navy officials.
Inglewood Police Sgt. Harold Moret said that a number of recruits celebrated their last night as civilians Monday by sneaking liquor into a party in a fourth-floor room despite the hotel's ban on alcohol sales to military personnel.
Witnesses reported that Smith drank rum and Coke until 12:50 a.m., then left for his fifth-floor room.
Later, according to police, Smith broke into two rooms, where he attacked five women, all military enlistees ranging in age from 17 to 20.
"It was a full-blown donnybrook," Moret said. "People were hysterical, running all over the place."
The women repulsed Smith's attacks, but he went on to a third room, according to officers. One woman in that room escaped and ran for help, but Smith trapped her roommate inside and barricaded the door with a dresser.
"He was left with the one girl," Moret said. "He punched her in the face and rammed her head against the wall . . . Security (officers) forced their way in the door and found him on top of the victim, raping her."
Moret said hotel security officers pulled Smith off the young woman, who was later treated at Santa Monica Hospital and released. None of the other women required medical treatment.
Smith was being held in lieu of $67,500 bail at the Inglewood Police Department Jail, pending arraignment today.
Police said they do not recall previous complaints involving military enlistees at the hotel on Prairie Avenue between the Forum and Hollywood Park race track.
But the recruits can be an annoyance for hotel workers, according to one employee.
"It's their last night of freedom," said the employee, who requested anonymity. "They are rambunctious. They are rowdy. They are going to tear the place up."
Jones said, however, that the military contract had not presented significant problems.
"It's like any time you have a group of people," the hotel official said. "Eighty or 90% are going to be well behaved and there are always a certain number who are going to abuse things."
Navy Chief Ty Clinton, who recruited Smith, said he found the accusations hard to believe.
"I spoke to him today on the telephone and he said that he did not do it," Clinton said. "He's a soft-spoken young man. . . . He's a very level-headed person."