KMC commander to parents: Remain alert for children's safety
By JENNIFER H. SVAN | STARS AND STRIPES Published: August 20, 2012
RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany — Military officials dispelled rumors Monday that a suspect was in custody in three reported instances of child molestation or attempted abduction at two U.S. bases in Kaiserslautern.
“That’s a bad rumor. We have not caught the individual or individuals in these three cases of interest,” Air Force Lt. Gen. Craig Franklin, commander of the Kaiserslautern Military Community, said at a town hall meeting. It was one of two planned this week to update parents on the child safety investigation and to urge them to stay vigilant as children prepare to return to base schools next week.
Franklin was responding to a question from Tamara Weatherly, 34, an Air Force technical sergeant and mother of four, who said she heard at a recent back-to-school orientation for one of her children on Ramstein that “the gentleman had been caught.”
Weatherly said after the town hall that she couldn’t remember if a school official or another parent, perhaps in passing, told her.
“I am still concerned,” she said about the children’s safety.
Even though a suspect remains at large, Weatherly said it appears military investigators are doing what they can.
“They’ve actually been very good about letting people know this is happening,” she said after the town hall.
The first alleged child molestation occurred last August on Ramstein, but it was not reported until January. Soon after that first report, an alleged attempted abduction was reported on Ramstein, officials said. Another child molestation, this one allegedly occurring on Vogelweh, was reported in April.
The victims were young girls between the ages of 5 and 7 . Franklin said the suspect was described as speaking English without an accent.
He urged parents to remain vigilant.
“Parents are our best defense in all of these situations,” he said.
Franklin also reminded parents that KMC policy requires children 6 and under be supervised at all times. The policy also says youngsters under 10 years of age can’t be left alone in a car. Over the last three weeks, security forces have found children under 10 unattended in a parked car while a parent went to check mail, or went inside the visitor center, commissary or base exchange.
“I would consider no part of the base safe,” Franklin said. “If you leave your kids unattended, whether it’s in your yard or in your car, they’re a potential target for a child molester.”
A second town hall is planned for Tuesday at 4:30 p.m. at the Galaxy Theater on Vogelweh.