The FBI has charged a 27-year-old man with sexually assaulting two children at the Fort Meade Youth Center in Maryland.
Anthony Dennis Williams II, of Severn, Md., a former employee at the Fort Meade Youth Center, was arrested Nov. 12. Williams worked at the center for about eight years.
According to court documents filed with the case, Williams “sexually assaulted a child ... who attended the (Child and Youth Services Center) program approximately 1.5 to 2 years ago.” The allegedvictims, ages 12 and 14, attended the center after school.
According to an FBI affidavit filed with the U.S. District Court In Maryland, Williams allegedly contacted the youths through Facebook and via “sexually explicit” text messages, sometimes requesting they send him videos. The mother of one of the children discovered the text messages and contacted authorities.
The charges were announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein, who warned parents to be “relentless about reading children’s text messages and checking their social media accounts ... keep your children’s passwords, read all of their incoming and outgoing messages, and take immediate action if they send or receive inappropriate messages.”
The investigation is continuing.
Williams faces a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison for sexual abuse of a minor.
The Fort Meade Youth center is an after-school program for children in grades six through eight. On weekends it holds programs for children in grades 1 through 5. The center serves the children of military families and DoD civilians. .
Youth center officials sent letters to all families of children who attend the center informing them of the FBI investigation, according to Mary Doyle, a Fort Meade spokesperson. The post also set up a call center to field questions from families.
Since the incident came to light, Doyle said the center has installed new security measures.
In light of the Fort Meade incidents, Army Secretary John McHugh has ordered a sweeping review of procedures at child care and youth centers serving Army families.
The Fort Meade incident is the latest in a string of child abuse and neglect cases affecting Army families.
An Army Times investigation found that nearly 30,000 children in military families were abused or neglected between 2003 and 2012; more than 118 of them died from the abuse.
In an Army-wide message dated Nov. 8, McHugh directed the assistant secretary of the Army for Manpower and Reserve Affairs to establish a working group to:
• “evaluate the sufficiency of the supervisory standards found in Army regulations as they relate to ensuring the health, safety and well-being of children and youth.”
• “examine the policies, and procedures used to permit and oversee child and youth programs that are sponsored by non-federal entities but which operate on Army installations.”
McHugh’s order specifically included child and youth organizations dealing with Army families — whether or not they are government operated.
The group is charged with identifying identify any gaps or problems in Army regulations and recommend changes necessary to guarantee the safety and well being of children and youth and report back to McHugh by January 10, 2014.
Other members of this group shall be the assistant secretary of the Army (Installations, Energy and Environment); the ACSIM; the deputy chief of staff, G-1; the surgeon general; the judge advocate general; and the provost marshal general.