TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — The mother of one of the alleged victims in a sex crime investigation at MacDill Air Force Base said the Department of Defense needs better training for this type of case.
“The military does not know how to handle these cases,” she said.
Her daughter, who is younger than the 6-year-old MacDill resident who made similar allegations, told her about an incident the child said happened about two months ago. As soon as her daughter started describing what happened, the mother started recording the conversation.
“I didn’t want a massage,” the child said in the recording. “And then he did something.”
She paused to gather her thoughts.
“He said something,” the child said. “Like something weird.”
Her mother said the details were difficult to hear.
“I tried to keep my composure and get as much as I could out of her,” she said. “If I would’ve shown some sign of anger or fear sadness or frustration she would’ve noticed.”
“This boy, per my daughter’s story, pulled his pants down and asked my daughter to do something to him. When she didn’t do what he wanted her to do he pushed her down the stairs of the playground.”
After she went to the Army Criminal Investigation Division (CID), a 6-year-old girl came forward with allegations of first-degree sexual assault against the same teenager.
“Yes,” she said when asked if she thinks the case has been swept under the rug. “It’s already been pushed aside.”
A 2018 Associated Press investigation documented 600 sexual assault cases since 2007 on U.S. bases around the world. According to the AP, about one out of seven alleged assaults from a set of 100 investigations was prosecuted.
The day after her interview with 8 on Your Side and after we started asking questions MacDill Deputy Chief of Public Affairs Terry Montrose said, “after an initial investigation, the base commander has barred the minor from MacDill.”
The parents who talked to 8 On Your Side said they’re concerned about alleged sex crimes involving juveniles living on military bases around the world are not investigated aggressively enough.
They also pointed to the reported lack of prosecution in many cases.
“They would not be acting like this if it was their child,” the child’s mother said.
The parents of both children told 8OYS investigator Walt Buteau they are happy the suspect is off the base but they added they wish MacDill had acted sooner.
A “MacDill town hall style meeting” about these incidents is scheduled for next week, according to Montrose.