The Army is investigating an incident where a child may have been sexually abused by another child at a military-run day care and parents say installation leadership failed to notify them in a timely manner, Military.com reported.
A four-year-old child was inappropriately touched on multiple occasions under the watch of administrators at the Moore Child Development Center, located on the Carlisle Barracks where the U.S. Army War College is hosted, Evelin Weber, the child’s mother, told Military.com. Weber said the first incident took place on Dec. 5, two days before the service informed the parents despite the Army’s claim to have informed the parents within 24 hours.
“They delayed notifying us,” Weber told Military.com. “They didn’t tell us anything that happened.”
Officials had “reviewed security footage that showed several seconds-long incidents of apparently mutual, inappropriate behavior between the two preschoolers,” U.S. Army Garrison Carlisle Barracks said in a statement to Military.com on Wednesday. The outlet was not able to determine why officials labeled the contact as “mutual.”
A caregiver at the Child Development Center (CDC) reported the incidents to day care leadership, which immediately notified the Army’s Criminal Investigation Division (CID), a Family Advocacy Program clinical case worker, and Child Protective Services, the garrison told the outlet. The child’s parents were notified within 24 hours, on Dec. 7.
The Army would not provide any incident reports or other documentation to the outlet. It also did not specify exactly what CID will investigate.
Delaying notification allowed CPS to open an investigation and begin interviewing children and look for evidence of abuse at home as a precautionary measure, although at-home abuse is not suspected, an Army official with knowledge of the situation told Military.com.
Weber said the child developed early signs of behavioral health issues following the incidents, Military.com reported. Medical documents dated in December showed the child had sustained injuries.
Weber also said her child had displayed symptoms of inappropriate touching, including bleeding, in October.
Child care facilities must notify parents of medical emergencies or unusual incidents involving their children, Army policy shows, although it does not explicitly mention sexual contact between minors.
Base command began informing other parents with children attending the CDC on Dec. 11, the garrison told Military.com. After a review, the command conducted a review and recommended more staff training and supervision for administrators, as well as rearranging furniture to avoid blocking security cameras.
In 2021, Army Secretary Christine Wormuth ordered the Army to reinforce reporting requirements and oversight of sexual behavior involving minors, but it’s unclear if those demands have been fully incorporated into regulations across the service.
Incidents at child care centers operated by different military services are not a new phenomenon, according to Military.com.
Similar occurrences may have gone under the radar at military-operated schools. A Department of Defense Inspector General report released in 2020 found that of 600 serious juvenile-on-juvenile misconduct incidents at Department of Defense Education Agency school that could have been reported, 593 did not make it to the installation commander, 522 were not reported to DODEA headquarters and 524 were not reported to law enforcement.
The Army did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.