AF officer, wife charged in Guam abuse case
May 6, 2007
An Air Force captain and his wife were each charged Friday in Guam court with nine counts of child abuse, while previous felony charges of photographing their two boys in the commission of obscene acts were withdrawn.
The new charges allege that the parents allowed their children, now ages 4 and 5, to observe them in sexual acts, allowed them to view pictures of nude men, and spanked them so hard that it left welts and bruises on their bottoms.
The alleged acts took place between June 1, 2006, and April 20. Both parents were released from detention on a $5,000 personal recognizance bond each with conditions of no contact with the victims and witnesses. An arraignment is set for May 9.
The parents are not being named by Stars and Stripes because it would identify the alleged victims. The father, 36, is stationed at Andersen Air Force Base. He was charged on April 26 and his wife on April 25. Both were held on $100,000 bond on the felony charges, which stemmed from some 1,700 photographs of them and their children in the nude that were seized from their off-base home in the village of Yigo.
“We are not as concerned about the photos as much as the parents endangered the emotional welfare and health of the children,” Phillip Tydingco, chief prosecutor for the Guam Attorney General’s Office, said in a phone interview last week. “Our biggest concern all along has been for the physical and emotional welfare of the children.”
The children have been placed with child protective services. Tydingco stressed that it appeared no other children were involved.
He said Guam authorities took jurisdiction of the case after Air Force investigators referred it to them.
“They were investigating allegations against the husband, a captain in the Air Force, when they learned that his wife might also be involved,” he said. “Then it was learned that the alleged crimes occurred in their off-base home.
“The initial investigation was that there was some form of conduct unbecoming an officer in the Air Force,” he added.
Tydingco said his office continues to work closely with the Guam Police Department and the Air Force on the case.
“One of the biggest concerns for us now is where these photographs were taken,” he said before Friday’s decision to withdraw the felony charges.
The investigation determined that the photos were taken in Texas prior to the family moving to Guam.
“If they were taken some place other than Guam, as has been alleged, then we may have to make referral to the jurisdictions where the alleged crimes occurred. However, we would still have the matter of the conduct at their Yigo residence to consider.”
Tydingco said his office has yet to determine whether it will refer the case to Texas authorities.
The child abuse charges stem from comments their children made to police and welfare workers and a written statement from the wife’s mother.
The grandmother said she stayed with the family for nine days last October and saw the parents strike the boys so hard that she “saw welts and bruises on both boys all over their bodies,” according to the magistrate’s complaint filed Friday in Guam superior Court.
She said she also saw the mother, 29, show her sons computer photos of nude men and allowed them to watch their father grope her.
Tydingco said interviews with the boys after they were removed from the home led to child abuse charges. According to the magistrate’s complaint, the older boy said the family usually wore no clothing when at home and he had seen his parents engage in acts of sodomy.
Tydingco said the older boy said he engaged in such acts with his younger brother and his parents took pictures of them. According to the complaint, during a break a caseworker observed the older boy attempting to sodomize his brother.