An ex-civilian employee at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base allegedly “fantasized about raping minor girls,” according to an affidavit filed in Dayton’s U.S. District Court.
During an employment interview with a different federal agency in March 2018, the 23-year-old man also admitted to accessing child pornography and communicating online with 14- and 15-year-old girls.
The next month, the employee, identified by Wright-Patt as a health physicist, was hired full-time at Wright-Patt, but base officials said they were not made aware of the man’s comments until September. After that, security measures were taken to monitor his activities on base property , officials said.
Wright-Patt officials said the man worked at the base until Jan. 23, when he resigned after being presented with a termination notice.
The affidavit said the man admitted that he “was sexually attracted to girls as young as 6 years old, but preferred 10-year-olds, citing physiological aspects of their bodies consistent with that age group.”
The document also said the man described thoughts of “seeing minor girls crying in pain, in association with him having unauthorized contacts which he found nonetheless desirable.”
A Wright-Patt spokeswoman released a statement Wednesday that said a story about the affidavit by Cincinnati television station WCPO was misleading and did not include all accurate and relevant facts.
The base statement said that the Air Force Office of Special Investigations (AFOSI) “began a thorough criminal investigation which, if substantiated, would likely result in prosecution in federal court.”
The man’s attorney, Anthony Comunale, told the Dayton Daily News on Thursday: “My client denies any criminal wrongdoing.”
Comunale reiterated that his client was uncharged.
Director of WPAFB Installation Public Affairs Marie Vanover would not comment on which federal agency originally interviewed the man, said she was not allowed to talk about other law enforcement officers and said they do not comment on open investigations.
Vanover redirected specific questions to AFOSI.
An AFOSI spokeswoman did not immediately return a message seeking comment, but WCPO reported Wednesday that AFOSI declined to comment about the document. The affidavit was intended to be sealed but appeared briefly on PACER, the public system used to view federal court documents.
The Dayton Daily News asked the U.S. Attorney’s Office to unseal the document, but the request did not result in the document becoming available through PACER.
The probable cause affidavit was written by AFOSI special agent Teddi Rachell to obtain search warrants from online platforms the man allegedly used.
‘Security measures were in place’
“An individual was hired at Wright-Patterson AFB and employed from April 16, 2018, to Jan. 23, 2019, under the Direct Hiring Authority as a GS-07 Health Physicist,” part of Wright-Patt’s statement said.
“On Sept. 18, 2018, the base received notification that during an interview conducted earlier in the year by another agency, not affiliated with Wright-Patterson AFB, the employee disclosed he had communicated with minors and accessed child pornography.”
The affidavit indicated the suspect was living near a child care center and that he plotted the best way to abduct and rape girls at his former office and place of worship.
“During the entire time the criminal investigation was open, security measures were in-place to monitor the individual’s activities on the base property to ensure he did not have access to any child care centers, schools, or sensitive installation information,” the WPAFB statement added.
“The individual, who was served with notice of termination, resigned from employment on Jan. 23 and was barred from all areas of the installation. The case remains open and the investigation is ongoing.”
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The affidavit also indicated the man used Google Hangouts and the Amino app to communicate with minor girls. Investigators sought search warrants to get information from those platforms.
The affidavit said the suspect accessed the Amino website — described online as a “network of communities [that] lets you explore, discover, and obsess over the things you’re into” — 901 times between October 2017 and October 2018.
The affidavit said the suspect admitted to accessing child pornography through Ukrainian and Russian websites and that the man “outlined evasive measures he took in order to conceal his identity and maintain anonymity when chatting with the minor girls.”
‘Why did it take months?’
WCPO quoted Mark Zaid, a Washington D.C. attorney who has focused on national security issues, as saying: “People need to be fired for this particular case.”
Zaid told the TV station that the background investigator should have immediately sent the information to the right people.
“Reading through this affidavit, there’s a million and one red flags,” Zaid told WCPO. “Why did it take months for anyone in the government to do anything about him, much less that he got hired by Wright-Patterson Air Force Base?”
In September 2018, AFOSI discovered that a police department previously opened an investigation concerning this matter in 2018, the special agent wrote: “They did not take any substantive criminal action because (redacted) no longer resided or was present in their jurisdiction.”
The Wright-Patt statement concluded with a quote attributed to Col. Tom Sherman, 88th Air Base Wing and Installation Commander, which said in part: “The moment our federal law enforcement teammates became aware of the situation, they took immediate and deliberate actions to investigate and ensure the safety of our family members was maintained.”
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