RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany — A military judge sentenced an Air Force staff sergeant who pleaded guilty to multiple counts of raping and molesting young girls to life in prison without parole on Friday.
Staff Sgt. Joshua Adam Smith had advertised his baby-sitting services to the Kaiserslautern military community and touted his compassion for children in an online forum.
On Thursday, Smith pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting the three girls – ages 3, 4, and 8 – in his care over the last year.
In all, he pleaded guilty to 18 criminal counts, including anal and genital penetration and penetrating the children with objects including a Sharpie marker and a plastic tube. He also pleaded guilty to photographing and videotaping his victims, while posing them in a sexual manner and performing sexual acts on them.
According to court testimony, he found his victims by advertising his baby-sitting services online, and he also created an account under a fake name to provide references for himself.
In a posting last year under the name “Joshua” on the Ramstein Underground Internet forum — which military prosecutors entered into evidence against Smith — the sergeant boasted of having worked with children “since I was 13” and having been a baby sitter for many years in multiple locations.
“Been babysitting here for about a year, mostly to coworkers and good friends,” Smith wrote on the website. “But I’m trying to reach out further because its hard to find jobs.”In a post under the name, “Bellie,” he wrote that he was wary at first of hiring a male baby sitter, but “i spent hours searching the internet, I was equally scared of getting a female babysitter. So I decided to give him a try, he worked with my husband and my husband trusted him, so why couldn’t i? Ended up being one of the best sitters I’ve ever had.”
Officials did not reveal whether they suspect Smith of having molested other children at Ramstein or on other bases where he has been stationed, including Incirlik Air Base in Turkey and Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska. He was sentenced Friday by Col. Dawn Eflein, the chief military judge for the European region.
Air Force records indicate that Smith joined the Air Force in 2001 and arrived at Ramstein in December 2007.