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Fort Sill soldier is convicted of child sex abuse

Month after month, year after year, Sgt. 1st Class James D. Gallup repeatedly molested a preteen girl, military prosecutors alleged.

Friday, Gallup became the second of four Fort Sill soldiers facing recent but unrelated cases of sexual misconduct with a child to be convicted at court-martial. Less than four dozen such prosecutions occurred Armywide last year.

The charge against Gallup involved abuse that occurred between January 2009 and December 2011 when the girl was about 9 or 10 years old, according to testimony during the two-day trial. The Oklahoman has a policy of not identifying sexual assault victims.

A military judge, Col. Jeffery Nance, sentenced Gallup to 18 months confinement and a bad conduct discharge.

Agents with Fort Sill's Criminal Investigation Division first interviewed Gallup, whose age was not available, last May after allegations surfaced. Gallup, a platoon sergeant in A Battery, 1st Battalion, 78th Field Artillery, was removed from his position in the training unit over his objections, according to his battalion commander.

Prosecutors unsuccessfully sought to convict Gallup of rape, which carried a maximum sentence of 20 years' confinement.

Gallup pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of aggravated sexual contact with a child. The sentence still must be approved by the fort's commander, Maj. Gen. James "Mark" McDonald, who could lessen the punishment.

McDonald has declined to comment on the spate of child sexual assault cases at the state's largest Army installation.

In July, Sgt. Jason Harrod was convicted on charges including aggravated sexual assault after he impregnated a teenage girl. Harrod was sentenced to 28 years' confinement, reduction to the lowest rank and a dishonorable discharge.

Pfc. Christopher P. Havlock is scheduled for trial in March while the court-martial of 1st Lt. Michael A. Chambers is set for April. Both face charges involving children under the age of 12.

In 2012, only 25 soldiers were court-martialed Armywide on sexual assault charges involving a victim younger than 12. Three were acquitted. Seventeen soldiers were tried last year in civilian courts on similar charges. Those convicted of sexual misconduct can be required to register as sex offenders.

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