DOVER, Del. — An Air Force reservist stationed at Dover Air Force Base has been charged with raping and impregnating a 14-year-old girl, the fourth airman to face child sex abuse charges in the past year.
Staff. Sgt. Byron P. White was taken into custody at the military base Tuesday following an investigation that began Dec. 19 after authorities received a complaint on a Division of Family Services hotline, according to Delaware State Police.
White, a reserve loadmaster assigned to Dover’s reserve unit, the 512th Airlift Wing, is charged with nine counts of third-degree rape and continuous sexual abuse of a child.
White, 34, was being held with bond set at $200,000. It was not immediately clear whether he has a lawyer.
White’s arrest comes just one week after another airman at Dover, Zepplin Taylor-McGinness, 21, was charged by Dover police with raping a runaway 14-year-old girl. Taylor-McGinness is being held with secured bond set at $100,500.
Dover police were contacted in November by the girl’s guardian, who learned that she was staying at a local apartment complex, where investigators found her and Taylor-McGinness. Dover police and the Air Force Office of Special Investigations launched a joint investigation, in which they learned that Taylor-McGinness had allegedly engaged in sexual acts with the girl on several occasions. He is charged with four counts of second-degree rape and child endangerment.
Preliminary hearings for both men are scheduled for Feb. 23.
Master Corporal Melissa Jaffe, a state police spokeswoman, said the two cases involve different victims.
Meanwhile, another airman, Dalian Washington, is scheduled to appear in federal court for sentencing on Feb. 21. Washington faces at least 10 years in prison after pleading guilty to child sex trafficking.
Washington and another airman, Akeem Beazer, were arrested last April after a young teen, who officials say had a troubled home life and often lived on the street, told a social worker that she had stayed on the military base and had sex with service members.
Beazer was sentenced last month to 30 months in prison after pleading guilty to sexual abuse of a minor.
“One assault is one too many. Sexual assault is a crime and it violates our Air Force core values and is not conducive to the Air Force way of life,” Lt. Katherine Sanner, a base spokeswoman, said in an email.
“Although leaders talk to their airmen daily, base leadership is putting special emphasis and importance on initiating specific discussions this week due to recent incidents,” she added.
State police said authorities confirmed that White’s alleged 14-year-old victim was pregnant and said she told investigators that he was the father of the child. Detectives further discovered that the girl had been in a sexual relationship with White since May 2017. Authorities said the pair engaged in sexual encounters at White’s home, about 8 miles (13 kilometers) southwest of the base.
Base officials said White has been in both active and non-active status throughout the time period of allegations.