Authorities identified a Fort Carson soldier and four others who allegedly attempted to meet with a minor for sexual services near the Colorado Army post, officials said Wednesday.
Federal investigators conducted a two-day operation on March 17 and 18 to apprehend the group of civilians and the soldier, who is yet to be named but is assigned to 10th Special Forces Command, according to a release from the Army Criminal Investigation Division’s Rocky Mountain Field Office.
The suspects agreed to meet the juvenile at a location that was predetermined during online conversations, officials said.
“These predators exist in the community, and we want to send the message that we will do whatever it takes to bring them to justice,” Ryan O’Connor, the special agent-in-charge of the field office, said in the release.
The news comes after another Fort Carson soldier, 26-year-old Josef Smith, was arrested in February over alleged sexual exploitation of children, according to a news release from the city of Fountain, Colorado.
The military member in this case is being referred to the Army for prosecution while the civilian suspects were referred for civilian prosecution, the release said.
“We are aware of the incident regarding Army CID’s apprehension of a 10th Special Forces Group [s]oldier,” Maj. Russell M. Gordon, a spokesperson for 1st Special Forces Command, told Military Times in a statement.
“Army CID referred the [s]oldier to the command, where he will face consideration for legal action in accordance with the uniform code of military justice. We will continue to cooperate with CID and law enforcement authorities. We strongly condemn this alleged misconduct, which is not compatible with Army and Special Operations values to which the overwhelming majority of our [s]oldiers abide by.”
Jonathan is a staff writer and editor of the Early Bird Brief newsletter for Military Times. Follow him on Twitter @lehrfeld_media