KMC commander urges vigilance in wake of alleged molestation
KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany — Parents and caretakers of children are being urged to be extra vigilant following an alleged child molestation reported earlier this week in the Vogelweh Housing area.
It’s the third instance of an alleged child molestation or alleged child abduction reported on a U.S. military base in the Kaiserslautern area in the last several months, Air Force Lt. Gen. Craig Franklin, commander of the Kaiserslautern Military Community, said in an interview Friday.
The description of the suspect in all three instances is similar enough that military investigators believe the cases may be connected, said Franklin, who is also commander of 3rd Air Force at Ramstein Air Base.
In the incident reported Tuesday, the suspect was described as a white male in his mid-20s with blue eyes, and brown hair in a military-style cut, Franklin said. He was wearing Army camouflage pants, a tan-and-green T-shirt and tan combat boots. The alleged victims in all three cases were young girls, Air Force officials said.
In the previous incidents, the suspect was described as wearing a “generic uniform,” Franklin said. In the most recent case, the alleged victim was able to distinguish between Air Force and Army when shown the two uniforms, Franklin said.
But investigators aren’t saying the suspect is a military member.
“It could be a civilian dressed as a soldier … it could be anybody,” Franklin said.
In a meeting Friday afternoon on Ramstein with military commanders and other senior military leaders, Franklin relayed information about the suspect in the most recent case so it can be passed on to units and the word can reach families as quickly as possible, Franklin said.
“The safety of our children is an absolute priority for all members of the Kaiserslautern military community,” he said. “We’re doing everything we can to aggressively be able to resolve (the case) ... and track down the alleged perpetrator.”
The Air Force and Army are stepping up joint military patrols, including by foot and bike, focusing in on housing and school areas on military bases in the Kaiserslautern area, Franklin said. Officials also are coordinating with local German police investigators, he said. “We just want them to be aware that we’re having an issue on post and on Ramstein, so if they hear of any cases of attempted abductions … (it will) certainly grab their attention and we’ll start comparing notes.”
Franklin will address concerns and answer questions at two town hall meetings next week that are open to military, civilians and family members in the Kaiserslautern Military Community.
A town hall Tuesday will start at 6 p.m. at the Galaxy Theater on Vogelweh, and a second town hall will take place at 11 a.m. on Wednesday at the Hercules Theater on Ramstein. The Air Force Office of Special Investigations and the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command will have representatives at both meetings, Franklin said.
“We are marshaling all the available agents we have in the area on this case,” he said.
Military officials are also working with the schools and after-school programs to discuss protective care measures with children.
The message they’re hoping to get out: “You don’t ever go anywhere with a stranger,” Franklin said.
Parents and caretakers at home also are urged to talk to their kids about “stranger danger” and not to leave them unattended in housing areas, playgrounds and the like.
“The best defense we have is parental vigilance,” Franklin said.
Military officials are putting phone numbers that people can call to report any suspicious activity on the Ramstein LiveWire and in this week’s Kaiserslautern American newspaper.
To report any suspicious activityAFOSI Tip Line: Commercial 0171-745-5382. This number is manned 24/7.Ramstein Security Forces at DSN 480-2050 or commercial 06371-47-2050Vogelweh Security Forces at DSN 489-6060/7070 or commercial 0631-536-6060/7070.