The Air Force is investigating allegations of child abuse at Hill Air Force Base’s Child Development Centers, a spokesperson for the Utah installation confirmed Thursday.
FOX 13, the local news affiliate in Salt Lake City, reported Wednesday that 37 children may have been abused at Hill’s daycares, and 12 staff members are under investigation.
“The 75th Air Base Wing is fully aware of these serious allegations, is fully supporting this ongoing investigation, and reviewing the processes that safeguard our children,” Hill spokesperson Tom Mullican said in an emailed statement.
Hill has removed the staff under investigation from the classroom and notified the parents of the affected children, he said. Hill has two CDCs — Child Development Center East and West which care for children ages 6 weeks to 5 years. it was unclear at press time whether the allegations involve both centers or just one.
“Properly caring for our airmen and their families is of the utmost importance to all of us here at Team Hill,” Mullican said. “Our Child Development Centers, with their devoted and talented caregivers, exist to provide children with a safe learning environment.”
He did not answer whether the affected families were offered alternative child care or other resources.
Mullican referred further questions to the Air Force Office of Special Investigations, which did not immediately respond to a query Friday.
According to FOX 13, parents were told as early as January if their child was a potential victim. Base leadership and OSI updated families on the investigation Tuesday, said the local station, which obtained details of the briefing.
Investigators are reviewing 70 days of video footage going back to December, FOX 13 reported.
“One parent described having been shown a video of her child. The parent described her child’s head as ricocheting off a cot when a caregiver harshly put the child down for a nap,” the station reported. “Another parent said he was told his child was hit in the head, but he was frustrated that he wasn’t instructed on whether to look for symptoms of a brain injury.”
Hill sits at the foot of the Wasatch Mountains, around 30 miles north of Salt Lake City. It’s the Air Force’s second-largest installation at more than 19,000 uniformed and civilian employees, according to the Air Force Association’s annual almanac. The base largely serves as a maintenance and acquisition hub, and hosts the Air Force’s first operational F-35 Lightning II wing.
Similar accusations periodically surface against day cares across the military.
In October 2022, the Justice Department charged two employees and the former director of a day care at Robins Air Force Base, Georgia, with first-degree child cruelty, second-degree child cruelty, simple battery and failing to report suspected child abuse for allegedly coercing 14 children into fighting each other multiple times.
The Navy also discovered video footage of child mistreatment at Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake, California, last fall, according to Military.com.
Rachel Cohen is the editor of Air Force Times. She joined the publication as its senior reporter in March 2021. Her work has appeared in the Washington Post, the Frederick News-Post (Md.), Air and Space Forces Magazine, Inside Defense, Inside Health Policy and elsewhere.