CINCINNATI — Wright-Patterson Air Force Base has refused for weeks to answer the WCPO I-Team’s questions about a man who made statements about child porn weeks before being hired at the base, according to an affidavit WCPO obtained.
On Thursday, WPAFB finally provided a few answers in a news release that claimed our unnamed report was “misleading” and “did not include all accurate and relevant facts.”
The statement did not identify any mistakes, and repeated much of the same information we reported in our story.
The I-Team’s report, which aired Wednesday, was based on information contained in an affidavit filed by an Air Force special agent on Dec. 28. The document was supposed to be sealed, but was mistakenly posted on PACER, the public website used by federal courts. The I-Team discovered the affidavit during a routine check of court records.
In the affidavit, the agent wrote that there was “probable cause” that a former civilian employee at Wright-Patterson had broken federal laws. The agent described comments allegedly made by the man during a March 2018 interview for a job with the federal government. During that interview the man said he had accessed child pornography websites, according to the affidavit. The agent also wrote in the affidavit that the man said he fantasized about raping underage girls and was sexually attracted to girls as young as 6, but he preferred 10-year-old girls.
The interview was for a job not connected to Wright-Patterson. One month after the interview, the man began working at WPAFB. The agent wrote that the Air Force Office of Special Investigations was notified about the man’s comments in September. After receiving the information, agents launched an investigation.
In the statement released Thursday, WPAFB identifies the former job title, pay grade and last day of employment for the target of the investigation. That connection disclosed by Wright-Patterson makes it easy to confirm the identity of the unnamed target of the probe conducted by the Air Force Office of Special Investigations.
Wright-Patterson’s statement and WCPO’s story clearly and repeatedly reveal that the interview in question was conducted by a different federal agency for a job unrelated to Wright-Patterson. More than two weeks ago, we emailed WPAFB a long list of questions. Many of them were directed at the hiring process. But Wright-Patterson refused to provide answers.
In addition, Wright-Patterson included information in the news release that it refused to provide to WCPO, including the following: "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 individual, who was served with notice of termination, resigned from employment on Jan. 23 and was barred from all areas of the installation.”
Here is Wright-Patterson’s entire statement:
A recent story posted on the web, regarding a former Wright-Patterson employee, was misleading and did not include all accurate and relevant facts. An individual was hired at Wright-Patterson AFB and employed from April 16, 2018 to January 23, 2019 under the Direct Hiring Authority as a GS-07 Health Physicist. 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. As a result of the information, the Air Force Office of Special Investigations began a thorough criminal investigation which, if substantiated, would likely result in prosecution in federal court. As stated in the article, a federal search warrant by a federal magistrate within the Southern District of Ohio was granted on Dec. 28, 2018. 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 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. “The safety of our employees and family members at Wright-Patterson AFB is our most important responsibility. 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,” said Col. Tom Sherman, 88th Air Base Wing and Installation Commander.