TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — The MacDill Air Force Base sexual assault investigation involving two young girls and a teenaged suspect has concluded, but it is unknown whether charges will be filed.
A six-year-old girl — along with another girl who was even younger — accused their 13-year-old neighbor of assaulting them on a MacDill playground, prompting an investigation by the Army Criminal Investigation Division (CID). The six-year-old’s allegations are described as first-degree sexual assault, while the other victim alleged the teen exposed himself and asked her if she wanted a massage.
“But I didn’t want a massage,” the younger girl said in an interview recorded by her mother. “And then he did something. Like something weird.”
MacDill kicked the young suspect off the base and barred him from the facility the day after the first report about the case by 8 on Your Side.
From day one of the investigation, parents who live on the base were concerned about the military’s poor record in prosecuting juvenile sexual assaults.
According to an AP investigation, a review of one set of 100 investigations showed only about one out of seven of those assaults was prosecuted.
“You want the system to change. Yes. And how it would be better to have the federal prosecution for these types of cases to move directly to local authorities. So, they can handle the situation.”
MacDill Deputy Chief of Public Affairs Terry Montrose confirmed the Army concluded its investigation.
“The case has been referred to the U.S. Attorney’s Office,” Montrose said.
At that point, Montrose referred all comment to the U.S. Attorney in Tampa. Spokesman William Daniels said, “We have no comment at this time.”
The parents of the two alleged victims said they are skeptical the suspect will be charged adding to the military’s record of not prosecuting juvenile sexual assault suspects.
“Pointing out that this has happened before,” one parent said. “And the perpetrator getting away with it for the most part, it’s just really tough to deal with.”
There is a lack of data about federal prosecution of juveniles, but a report by The Marshall Project in late 2016 indicated at that time there were only 26 inmates under the age of 18 in federal prisons.