An Air Force Academy ethics instructor turned himself over to authorities on Wednesday and was charged with internet luring of a child.
According to an announcement on Twitter, Air Force Capt. Paul Sikkema was arrested by investigators with the Internet Crimes Against Children division of the Arapahoe Sheriff's Department.
A spokesperson for the academy, Lt. Col. Tracy Bunco, said in a statement to Task & Purpose that the Academy is "aware of the arrest," and that they are "tracking his civilian court case as it goes through the legal process, and will fully cooperate as needed with the Arapahoe Sheriff's Department."
An officer with the department chatted with Sikkema online, identifying himself as a 14-year-old girl named "Jenny," according to the arrest affidavit provided to Task & Purpose. Per the affidavit, Sikkema and Jenny text messaged for one week. Throughout the conversation, Sikkema asked Jenny if she was a virgin, and if she was "into older guys." He also said he could "get in a lot of trouble by talking to you," described sexual acts he wanted to engage in with her, and asked for her address, saying "I really wanna come up and see you."
According to the affidavit, Sikkema "coordinated with his attorney" and turned himself in after he was contacted by investigators with the Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office on Tuesday.
Sikkema joined the Academy's philosophy department in 2017 and is currently teaching the Ethics course for the department, according to his faculty profile. He received his commission from the Academy in 2012, and was later assigned as an instructor for Undergraduate Air Battle Manager Training to the 337th ACS at Tyndall Air Force Base.
The Arapahoe Sheriff's Department says on its website that Sikkema has a court date scheduled for Thursday. The Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Task & Purpose.
Update: This story was updated to include new information from the arrest affidavit.
Former Marine Commandant Gen. Charles Krulak has issued a statement urging President Donald Trump and members of Congress to oppose pardons for those accused or convicted of war crimes since, he argued, it would "relinquish the United States' moral high ground."
"If President Trump follows through on reports that he will mark Memorial Day by pardoning individuals accused or convicted of war crimes, he will betray these ideals and undermine decades of precedent in American military justice that has contributed to making our country's fighting forces the envy of the world," said Krulak, who served in the Marine Corps for more than three decades before retiring in 1999 as the 31st Commandant.
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President Donald Trump will nominate Barbara Barrett to serve as the next Air Force secretary, the president announced on Tuesday.
"I am pleased to announce my nomination of Barbara Barrett of Arizona, and former Chairman of the Aerospace Corporation, to be the next Secretary of the Air Force," Trump tweeted. "She will be an outstanding Secretary! #FlyFightWin"
The Trump administration is trying to assure Congress that it does not want to start a war with Iran, but some lawmakers who fought in Iraq are not so sure.
Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford both briefed Congress on Tuesday about Iran. Shanahan told reporters earlier on Tuesday that the U.S. military buildup in the region has stopped Iran and its proxies from attacking U.S. forces, but the crisis is not yet over.
"We've put on hold the potential for attacks on Americans," Shanahan said. "That doesn't mean that the threats that we've previously identified have gone away. Our prudent response, I think, has given the Iranians time to recalculate. I think our response was a measure of our will and our resolve that we will protect our people and our interests in the region."
U.S. Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Brian M. Wilbur/Handout via REUTERS
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Donald Trump warned on Monday Iran would be met with "great force" if it attacked U.S. interests in the Middle East, and government sources said Washington strongly suspects Shi'ite militias with ties to Tehran were behind a rocket attack in Baghdad's Green Zone.
"I think Iran would be making a very big mistake if they did anything," Trump told reporters as he left the White House on Monday evening for an event in Pennsylvania. "If they do something, it will be met with great force but we have no indication that they will."