Thursday, January 3, 2013

Could Fort Myers daycare abuse be the beginning of a much bigger problem?

A recent report on CNN has been made exposing accusations of child abuse at a Fort Myer daycare center. This was initially reported no later than October 31 in the local news in the following report from an ABC affiliate.

Daycare employees at Joint Base Fort Myer-Henderson Hall accused of assault

Three child care workers at a center at Joint Base Fort Myer-Henderson Hall face federal charges after a parent complained about one of them yelling at children. But the accusations go much deeper than that.

Following the complaint, Army officials installed surveillance cameras at the temporary child development center, catching the alleged assaults on camera.

The assaults are said to have occurred in Aug. and Sept. and involved children as young as 18 months. …. complete article

This was reported on national news on December 28th of 2012 on CNN.

Alleged Abuse at Army Day Care aired on CNN December 28 2012

DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Horrified parents are watching as a scandal unfolds at their child's day care facility in suburban Washington. Kids being mistreated by their caregivers. Two people arrested over that abuse.

Then another shocking discovery. Another one. Thirty of those child care workers had questionable backgrounds, including drug abuse and previous sexual assault. They have been dismissed.

This all happened at a child care facility on the Ft. Myer military base in Virginia. The president himself taking the unprecedented step of calling the secretary of the Army to make sure action was being taken. CNN's Barbara Starr spoke to the mother of one of the children who was allegedly mistreated. And Barbara joins me now from the Pentagon. complete article

Additional details were made available on their security Blog in the following article.

Reports of abuse at Army day care spurs call from Obama By Barbara Starr

President Barack Obama made the rare move of calling the secretary of the Army on Tuesday night to express concern about reports of abuse at an Army child care facility, U.S. officials told CNN.

"The president made clear that we must have a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to protecting the children of service members from abuse. The president urged Secretary (John) McHugh to conduct the investigation into its hiring practices at (Army day care facilities)," a White House official told CNN's Lesa Jansen.

It is highly unusual for the president to call a military service secretary regarding a criminal matter, said a senior U.S. defense official who has served at the Pentagon for more than a decade.

The Department of Defense is now reviewing the hiring procedures at military day care centers and other youth facilities after the September arrests of two workers at Fort Myer in Virginia. The workers were charged Tuesday with "assault on a child under the age of 16" in connection with incidents that occurred in September.

After the arrests, the Army looked at the workers' backgrounds and realized that they were questionable and that the workers should not have been hired, according to a defense official.

While the problem had been known for some time, the situation was not brought to Pentagon leadership, including Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, until Tuesday night, U.S. officials said.

The Army began looking at all 130 day care workers at Fort Myer. Not all were directly involved in child care. The review found that 30 employees had questionable backgrounds, including records of sexual abuse of a minor, sexual assault and assault, although some of the charges had been dropped, according to one official. There were also some minor offenses. None was on the national registry of sex offenders.

However, another senior Department of Defense official told CNN that such charges would have disqualified the staffers from working in a day care facility with children.

The 30 employees were removed Friday out of "an abundance of caution," according to Col. Fern Sumpter, garrison commander at Fort Myer.

McHugh first learned the extent of the problem Friday. The same day, parents were notified that the center was closing due to a lack of staff, though officials could not say whether the parents were told the reason. The Department of Defense sent inspection teams Monday, but McHugh did not inform Panetta of the problems until Tuesday. complete article

It would of course be foolish to assume that this is part of a much bigger scandal without additional evidence; however the fact that one of the mothers insisted on reporting anonymously out of fear of retaliation and that the investigation has already indicated that there is a legitimate problem here clearly indicates additional investigation should be done and that there is a possibility that greater problems are worth considering.

Furthermore some of the people that have responded to these articles on the forums where they have been reported indicate that they may have had additional experiences that might be similar; although there are just as many if not more that have reported that these daycare centers are well run. Without confirmation these postings aren’t evidence of much since there is no guarantee of accuracy on public forums especially when they can be done anonymously; however most of these people almost certainly don’t have much incentive to lie, outside of unconscious biases.

There are still other indications that a closer look at this might be worthwhile though including evidence of common upbringing within the military and the past history of many organizations of covering things like this up for long periods of time. This has been done about child abuse by many powerful organizations like the Catholic Church and the Boy Scouts both of which have had an enormous amount of scandal exposed after reluctant efforts to cover it up; and in the military they also have a long history of covering up other subjects including the abuse of woman and whistleblowers as well as other minority groups. The first instinct of the military doesn’t seem to be to get things out in the open and fix them when there is a problem; but to cover it up.

Part of the reason for this, as I tried to explain in past posts about Authoritarianism and Dobson’s Indoctrination Machine is the early upbringing of many people that are often recruited for the military and how they’re raised in an authoritarian manner to obey orders and accept what they’re told without question. One clear example of this may be Oliver North; who also indicated, in his book “Under Fire” that the military relies on chaplains that encourage authoritarian upbringing including the use of James Dobson’s child rearing techniques which have been exposed by many more reliable people to be abusive and dictatorial. Oliver North wrote about this when he was seeking counseling from a military chaplain for his problems with the Iran Contra scandal. It is almost certainly a counselor that he chose partly due to his religious beliefs but there are many other people with similar religious beliefs and the authoritarian manner that James Dobson recommends is consistent with later military indoctrination in boot camp.

In fact people that are raised in this manner are almost certainly considered better recruits by the military; I have seen several sources that indicate that the military, CIA, FBI and other police organizations prefer recruiting people that have been trained to obey orders without question; although it doesn’t always work out t6hat way. Furthermore it might be this same upbringing that may be contributing to the potential problem. This upbringing also leads to more denial of the damage that is caused by escalating violence throughout life so it may also contribute to the suppression of the research into this subject as well as the positive comments that some people might make about the military even when there is an enormous amount of evidence raising questions about whether this is justified or not.

These things, and more, should be considered when evaluating the potential reliability of the feed back from people on the abuse that may be more wide spread than previously reported. The following are a sample of some of the feedback from one of the articles on this subject including some comments that indicate that it might be more wide spread, If you go to the original art5icle there may be more that defend the military without question; however I suspect that many of them seem to pat and these might be more somewhat reliable.

Randall Hurd

I have one better than that at White Sands Missile Range where kids were selling Cocain for the father who was a CIV employee at the Chow Hall. My kids tookk the worst of that one and I kept all the DOD Police reports, Also had a Disabled child that was abused by the base Elementary School. Keot send him to medical about roaches in his ear that never existed.

December 28, 2012 at 7:30 pm | Reply


As one who has the opportunity to observe military classrooms for quality, I walked away totally surprised and disappointed. I had always been told that on post child care was the best, well I have to say the only time I ever observed a child yanked in front of me, was in a on post center. I have observed classrooms for quality for over ten years...

December 28, 2012 at 11:31 am | Reply



This isn't isolated. My daughter was abused at the Day Care on base. I reported it & was slammed for doing so. I was literally called a bad mother by the Center Director because I was military & had her at daycare, "a good mother would be home with her child. This might not have happened". I contacted the IG who also didn't want to do an investigation. Needless to say I never took her back. I don't trust day cares at military facilities because very few are professional.

December 20, 2012 at 9:56 am | Reply


Also, this is a widespread issue. Often hear about these problems at civilian facilities accross the US. I'm sure it's hard to regulate/inspect these places as there are a lot to include home daycare. If your kid doesn't want to go back and gives you a fit about it, maybe you should see if something is going on.

December 20, 2012 at 10:02 am | Reply



The military treats families like crap, particularly enlisted "dependents" (as they are called, not even people anymore). Our military would be smaller and more efficient if we didn't involve families. If you're a soldier and want a family, retire or don't reenlist. Why drag a family into such a crappy life of government dependency?


December 20, 2012 at 9:08 am | Reply


That's pretty messed up to say that people shouldn't have a family because they're in the military. Do you know how ignorant you sound right now? As a former soldier of 11 years and as the spouse of an active duty Soldier, I just really want to punch you in the face for your comment right now. My husband and I have one, soon to be two, children together, I am a stay at home mom now because the military wouldn't facilitate us both staying in. I would've gladly stayed in and retire at 20 years, but my family means more to me. There is nothing wrong with being active duty, guard, reserves or whatever branch you choose and having a family.

My husband and I always joke about his hours as a drill sergeant and how if the military wanted you to have a spouse or family they would've issued you one, our son is 15 months old and has rarely seen him except for the few weeks of break time they get between their 14 week cycles. However, WE made the conscious decision to get married and 5 years later have a child.... there is nothing wrong with having a family and being in the military. Do you know how limited the Armed Forces would be if you told people they could not enlist if they have children or a family? We'd be back to the days of an involuntary Army because nobody was enlist.

December 27, 2012 at 8:15 pm | Reply


By the way – have you ever served or are you just a dependent that likes to run their mouth too?

December 27, 2012 at 8:16 pm | Reply

Complete article with additional comments
 Whether this is typical of discussion on problems with daycare or not is hard to tell without a closer look at other situations to find out if they have similar problems; however this might be enough to indicate that a closer look is worthwhile especially when there are numerous stories about attempts to cover up alleged abuses when they happen.

Ironically when describing the previous commenter as “ignorant” and following up by saying that, “I just really want to punch you in the face for your comment right now,” the last commentator may be doing more to indicate that she may have a hard time controlling her emotions and she may appear as “ignorant” as the person she responded to and angry on top of that. This could be typical of many people that are in denial although most people that might be in denial about the subject probably do a better job appearing to present a good argument for the quality of daycare in the military or many other things positive about the military. However there might be one thing important worth considering; when many of these defenses of the military sound almost identical they might seem to be scripted and part of a conscious or more likely unconscious effort to repeat similar expectations about the military. This is typical of many propaganda efforts and many people that participate in it may not even realize that they might be doing so since they may believe what they’re saying.

This is a part of a wider problem that repeats an enormous amount of propaganda portraying the military as our protectors from a large array of potential enemies. The problem with this is that a close look at many of the facts routinely indicates that the vast majority of the activities that the military conducts is based on lies; the weapons of mass destruction lies is just one of the more blatant distortions that have been exposed but there are many more that can and often are easily exposed by those that are open to more scrutiny. Unfortunately the corporate media and the government rarely report on this until it is too late and it is reasonable to assume that they might be inclined to do the same thing when it comes to a potential problem with their daycare centers.

Another big problem with this, as I have indicated in numerous other blogs including “Does child abuse and bullying lead to more violence” and “Child abuse and bullying link in study long over due,” is that abuse of children when they’re young leads to more violence when they get older since they grow up angry if they’re subject to abuse at an early age and they’re much more likely to be prone to violence if they’re taught it at an early age. This is especially a big problem in the military as I indicated in “Is Itzcoatl Ocampo an example of divide and rule tactics;” a large number of veterans have turned out to be more violent than the population as a whole. When they come back from war they often turn out to be much more violent than many other people. This is often attributed to their activities in the military and I don’t doubt that there is almost certainly something to it; but I suspect that it almost certainly also has a lot to do with their earlier upbringing as well. There are several other stories to indicate that this is much bigger problem than most people realize, some of which are listed below.

One of the potentially more revealing one of these stories might be the one that was investigated by Dave Philipps in Colorado Springs, assuming the investigation into the situation is complete before it is done. What I ahve seen of his investigation seems to revel a lot of information that is important and no doubt relevant; but it may not involve ful investigation into some of the relevant aspects of the situation. His investigation focuses primarily on Post Tramatic Stress Disorder from combat that presumably took place in Iraq and presumably it also covers some of the militqary training. I haven’t read his complete book but have seen some of the news stories on the subject. His research appears to focus primarily on one band of soldiers in Colorado Springs which appears to be among the most extreme; although it also includes some research into many other incidents around the country. It doesn’t necessarily have anything directly to do with the abuse at day care centers; in fact it probably doesn’t; however research into the backgrounds of these soldiers would most certainly help them understand why they turned violent and became much more involved in many crimes than most other soldiers around the country.

There is already an enormous amount of research into many similar incidents available from many sources and this research indicates certain patterns which might be present in these cases as well. Apparently they were all from the Colorado area which is the same area where several other infamous mass shootings, including Columbine, the Youth With a Mission shooting and Aurora have occurred over the last fifteen years. This is a very conservative part of the country where James Dobson’s advise is considered reputable; however an enormous amount of research has indicated that his strict disciplinarian methods leads to authoritarian beliefs and escalating violence. A close look at these incidents would indicate whether they are present in the upbringing of the soldiers involved in these crimes. It can’t prevent the past crimes of course but it can help to understand what leads to escalating violence and prevent future crimes. It can also help educate the public about how important the potential abuse at daycare centers, whether they’re military or not, can lead to escalating violence later in life and let people know that the most effective way to prevent violence is before it escalates at an early age.

These stories have been reported by the traditional media at times as indicated by the following links but they’re not emphasized nearly as much as the positive image that is repeated over and over again. If I hadn’t been watching at the right time I might have missed this story entirely; after looking for more information on it I was able to find it; but even then I wasn’t able to find much of it at first. An additional search did turn up another story which indicates that they are doing more investigation into the subject and it does provide some hope that they might be doing more to solve this problem but much more still needs to be done and in addition to preventing violence early more also needs to be done to inform the public about this and many other subjects; which should require media reform that enables the most credible researchers to have more say about what is reported instead of allowing a small number of corporations control the message that is presented in the corporate media.

The following is an excerpt from the story indicating that a larger investigation is being conducted at all military bases.

Military Day Care Across the Globe Under Investigation

All U.S military day cares are under investigation announced by U.S. Secretary of defense on Tuesday Dec. 18. The announcement came after problems in the Fort Myers Day care center, the largest of its kind in the department of defense.

In September of 2012, two daycare workers were arrested for assault on two children in the center. Parents have also complained to officials urging them to view surveillance cameras to gain more detail. After much pushing, they were able to see what workers were doing with the children. On one video, a daycare staff member is seen dragging and hitting a two year old. While in another, a staff member was threatening a child with a sticky trap filled with bugs. Those workers are now facing over 6 counts of assault charges.

This prompted an investigation into the workers on site, showing that many of them have questionable histories. This center serves children of Pentagon employees based in Fort Myers, Virginia. According to the Associated Press the Army has not said that it found anything besides “questionable information.” Parents in the meantime have pulled their children out of the day care, claiming that they were not comfortable.

Unfortunately, military facilities are not unique when it comes to suffering from employee’s who lack proper background checks. Leon Panetta, the Defense Secretary, ordered a worldwide review of the current military hiring practices at all day cares. This means that over 283 sites worldwide will be subject to a zero tolerance policy and stringent reviews. …. Complete article

I’m skeptical of zero tolerance policies and hope that they don’t go to the opposite extreme but this does seem to indicate that some efforts are being made to solve this issue. However it may be important for many people to keep an eye on this since there is still a history of denial and intimidation which still hasn’t been fully addressed and there is a possibility that they might be coming up with rhetoric that is addressing the situation while people are paying attention and that they might not follow up on it. This is especially important since this story is being selectively reported and most people probably haven’t even heard of it, including many people that might know more about potential aspects of the problem, whether it is military families, potential recruits, or researchers that might have some access to material that might contribute to the subject.

The following are some articles on the soldiers in prison.

Why so many ex-soldiers end up in prison Soldiers In Prison - Vanguard Documentary “Lethal Warriors” by Dave Philipps The Hell of War Comes Home: Newspaper Series Documents Murder, Suicide, Kidnappings by Iraq Vets New York Times “When War Comes Home” One in 10 prisoners is a former soldier, new research reveals 3 Buddies Home From Iraq Are Charged With Murdering a 4th

The following are some articles, web sites and books about some of the contributing causes for those of you who are interested.

“The Roots of Violence are NOT Unknown” and accompanying articles by Alice Miller
Free on-line copy of “For Your Own Good” by Alice Miller and additional information including at least one other free book on the subject.
Excerpts from “The Truth Will Set You Free” by Alice Miller
Home page for Barbara Coloroso, an internationally recognized speaker and author in the areas of parenting, Teaching, school discipline, non-violent conflict resolution and reconciliatory justice.
Home page for Murray Straus, includes articles and several free on-line books on the subject.
Excerpts from “Spare the Child” by Philip Greven

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