Air Force medical officer denies sexual assault allegations
By MARK GOKAVI | The Dayton (Ohio) Daily News | Published: August 10, 2013
A Wright-Patterson Air Force Base doctor at the center of a sexual assault investigation by Dayton police said the allegations against him were made up by a child with a mental disorder.
Lt. Col. Val Finnell held a press conference Friday at his attorney’s office in Vandalia, one day after Dayton police officers executed a search warrant at his rented home on Jackson Street in the Oregon District. Computers and other electronic equipment was seized.
The Montgomery County Prosecutor’s Office confirmed Friday that Finnell — who said he’s a 17-year military veteran — has not been arrested or charged with a crime in connection with a gross sexual imposition complaint involving an 11-year-old child filed April 22.
“My wife Tracy and I are very saddened by the events that transpired on Aug. 8 and the heavy-handedness of the Dayton police department,” Finnell said. “I denied the allegations and immediately sought to clear my name through taking a computerized voice stress analysis that was reviewed by two police officers that were examiners. The result of that test showed that I am telling the truth… . I have nothing to hide.”
Two Dayton police detectives were at the attorney’s office before the press conference but left without a tablet computer that police were seeking. Attorney Jeff Slyman said during the press conference that his investigator was going to deliver the computer to Dayton police. Finnell said he is cooperating with police and air base investigators and is still working.
WPAFB spokesman Brian Brackens released a statement Friday that said Finnell leads the Preventive Medicine Residency Program at the School of Aerospace Medicine and said that “allegations against (the officer) are currently under investigation and we are unable to provide specifics at this time.”
The statement further said: “Our Airmen are held to a high standard. All allegations of criminal misconduct against Airmen are taken seriously and will go through the appropriate process.”
A search warrant affidavit filed seeking to search the officer’s Oregon District residence said a child reported to a forensic interviewer that the man took off the child’s clothes and touched her in various places.
The Dayton Police Department’s Special Victim’s Unit was contacted April 22 by a Montgomery County Children Services case worker about a potential victim referred by a Dayton-area school. The forensic interview took place May 6 at Dayton’s Children’s Hospital in which the child recounted the allegations. The affidavit said the WPAFB officer’s wife cooperated with authorities and police said she is not under investigation.
The affidavit paraphrases a friend of Finnell’s who said they have a “common struggle with pornography” and that third-party Internet accountability software is placed on some of the officer’s computers that sends a report on how the Internet is used to a person of their choice. The affidavit says Finnell’s report goes to the friend, who said some websites were flagged in the report.
The friend told investigators that they attend weekly group therapy meetings for pornography addiction and that all of the officer’s computers have the software installed except for Finnell’s tablet computer.
“I actually run those meetings,” said Finnell, who added that he is a deacon in the Anglican church of North America and hasn’t viewed pornography online since about 2010. “We have people who come to those meetings who are addicted and I help those people. That’s my role.”
Finnell was a military college classmate of Fort Hood shooter Maj. Nidal Hasan and has appeared on national news programs being interviewed about his recollections of Hasan, who is on trial for killing 13 people and wounding more than 30 others at the Texas military base in 2009.