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A Catholic chaplain at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., who was recently stationed at RAF Mildenhall, England, has been indicted in Arizona on charges that he sexually abused two boys in Tucson in the 1980s.

Chaplain (Maj.) Gary E. Underwood, a priest assigned to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Tucson, Ariz., was arraigned Nov. 17 on eight counts of sexual conduct with a minor and child molestation.

Underwood has been a military chaplain since July 1988, according to spokesman Staff Sgt. Michael Andriacco, of the 2nd Bomb Wing at Barksdale.

In a Tuesday e-mail to Stars and Stripes, Andriacco wrote that Underwood served at Lajes Field in the Azores from May 1989 to September 1990; at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, from July 1993 to July 1995; and at RAF Mildenhall in the United Kingdom from July 2001 to July 2003.

The allegations involve two boys under the age of 15 for acts said to have occurred in 1983 and 1984 while Underwood served as a priest at St. Odilia’s Catholic Church in Tucson, Pima County Deputy Attorney Kathleen Mayer told the Shreveport (La.) Times. Underwood served at St. Odilia’s from 1982 to 1988, she is reported as saying.

“Chaplain Underwood has been the senior Catholic chaplain for the 2nd Bomb Wing at Barksdale Air Force Base since 2005,” Col. Daniel Charchian, the wing’s commander told the Shreveport paper.

Underwood, now free on bond, remains at the local base but in an office slot. He “is currently performing duties assisting the director of staff at the 2nd Bomb Wing until this issue is resolved,” Charchian told the paper.

The judge advocate’s office is not involved in the civilian court proceedings but will monitor the criminal proceedings, base spokesmen told the Times.

Underwood has a civilian legal counsel.


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