Army criminal investigators are investigating the circumstances inside an Army-run daycare center in which a child was repeatedly touched inappropriately by another child.

The mother of a child enrolled at the childcare center at Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania, home of the Army War College, told Task & Purpose that Army officials blundered protocols for handling cases involving problematic sexual behavior among children, took too long to notify parents about the incident and put off making an official report.

The family had enrolled the child at the facility because the child’s father is on active duty at Carlisle Barracks.

Army officials at Carlisle Barracks told Task & Purpose that they followed both the Army’s procedures for handling problematic sexual behavior involving children and Pennsylvania reporting laws.

The mother of the impacted child — the term preferred among child safety advocates — told Task & Purpose that she noticed changes in her child’s behavior after she enrolled them at Moore Child Development Center at the Carlisle Barracks in mid-October.

“Our child’s behavior started regressing at a rapid rate in all areas. It was very strange and we didn’t know what to make of it,” the mother said, adding that the symptoms started during the first 10 days of attending the preschool and “not at any point before.”

The mother described the child developing temper tantrums, emotional dysregulation, regressions to baby and infant behavior and difficulty sleeping.

“So many nights I will have to sleep on the floor next to our child to help them even fall asleep,” she said.

Task & Purpose generally does not identify individuals or families who report sexual misconduct. Along with contacting Task & Purpose, the mother posted anonymously about the incident on the Army Reddit page, sparking extensive online interest in the case. 

Officials at the Carlisle Barracks confirmed to Task & Purpose that the Army’s Criminal Investigation Division had opened an investigation into the incident.

Officials provided a timeline of the response of base officials as they became aware of the incident but said they could not comment on the ongoing investigation. 

“Due to the sensitive nature of this incident, and to protect the privacy and wellbeing of all affected parties, as well as to facilitate an unimpeded process, we will not provide further details or answer additional questions beyond what is covered in this statement,” Army officials told Task & Purpose.

The family’s lawyer, Korvin Kraics, said that CID investigators are following up on a few leads before the case is closed and they can provide the family a Final Investigative Briefing. Kraics also said that in December, CID told his client to FOIA the investigation results.

The incident

The mother of the child said contact between her child and another began on Dec. 5, though neither she nor staff at the CDC were initially aware.

On the morning of Dec. 6, a Childhood Development Center caregiver observed “possible inappropriate behavior between two preschool-aged children,” according to Carlisle Barracks spokesperson Curt Keester. The caregiver reported that suspicion to the childcare center’s leadership, which set off a chain of notifications and scrutiny.

The CDC’s leadership contacted the base’s family advocacy program manager, Keester said, who “immediately notified” a multidisciplinary team that included the base Family Advocacy clinical case manager, the Army’s CID, and Child Protection Services.

Officials “reviewed security footage that showed several seconds-long incidents of apparently mutual, inappropriate behavior between the two preschoolers,” Keester said in a statement to Task & Purpose.

On Dec. 7, the family advocacy program manager met with the parents and informed them that the footage indicated that their four-year-old child had been anally penetrated three to four times by another child’s finger over a span of two days and that the events were caught on tape. 

The mother of the child told Task & Purpose she was furious that this disclosure came a day after the incident. 

“The CDC knew our preschooler was actually penetrated three to four times in a 48 hour period and they allowed us to drop off our child the following morning like nothing happened, a full 24 hours later,” she said.

“The parents of the children involved were notified within 24 hours of CDC staff identifying the issue,” Keester said.

On Dec. 11, all parents with children enrolled at the CDC were informed that an incident had occurred, Keester said. Parents were also informed of subsequent safety and prevention actions taken like hiring an additional caregiver for the daycare.

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Child Problematic Sexual Behavior

Inappropriate interactions between children is a fraught subject for parents, legal authorities and child safety advocates.

The Association for the Treatment and Prevention of Sexual Abuse put together a task force in 2006 to focus on children with sexual behavior problems and explore public policy, intervention strategies and treatment plans. 

The Task Force concluded in their report that the decision to file a suspected child abuse report due to sexual behavioral problems between children should be considered carefully. While the problematic behaviors may warrant consulting a professional, it doesn’t always merit reporting it to the authorities, the report found. In other cases, the behavior may be clearly abusive and should trigger reporting requirements.

“Mandatory reporting laws more directly apply to adult-child and adolescent-child sexual behavior, where reporting decisions are clear-cut. Behavior between or among children may be less clear-cut. Typical or normative sexual play and exploration between children does not merit a report to law enforcement or child welfare authorities,” according to the report. 


On December 18 and 19, a team from the Army’s Installation Management Command in San Antonio visited the base’s CDC for what officials termed a “technical assistance” visit. That team recommended the facility implement supplemental staff training, maintain proper supervision ratios and reinforcement of appropriate classroom routines and boundaries, Keester said.

The CDC has since implemented protocols “to increase visibility and supervision” in the classroom like adding additional staff and “removing any potential visual obstructions,” according to Keester.

The mother of the child still wants answers.

“The Army claims moving a bookcase as a safety solution but it wasn’t a bookcase that failed to protect my four-year-old their basic human rights,” the mother said. “It was the Army who failed. At no point have they addressed where the adults were in the room. At no point have they taken any responsibility.”

Kraics, the family lawyer, said they’re still gathering and analyzing evidence and considering a federal legal claim.

“Instead of being outraged at the callous disregard for the well being of the kids, the Army has stonewalled us,” the mother said. “At no point has anyone within the Army chain of command asked how our child is doing. Not even the chaplain has called.”

The mother believes it is “critical” for her child to get trauma-informed therapy as soon as possible. A civilian clinical psychologist who has seen her child said they are showing signs of acute high stress. She also said CID officials have not contacted the family.

Army officials said that families involved were provided with resources on healthy sexual behavior and problematic sexual behavior in children. Officials also recommended a children’s book titled: “My Body is Mine and Good Touch Bad Touch” along with a parent guide.

“As we work through this difficult and unfortunate incident, the safety, well-being and privacy of all children under our care remain our top priorities,” Keester said.

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