Air Force reservist charged with rape

Byron P. White

DOVER — For the second time in eight days a Dover Air Force Base staff member has been arrested on charges of rape and sexual abuse of a child.

Reservist Byron P. White, 34, of Camden-Wyoming, was taken into custody at the base Tuesday and accused of raping and impregnating a 14-year-old girl, authorities said.

In a separate case last week, Airman Zepplin Ray Taylor McGinness, 21, pleaded not guilty to raping a 14-year-old girl who reportedly ran away from her Delmar home and stayed with him at his Dover Country Club Apartments residence, according to investigators.

Two other airmen were arrested last year and entered guilty pleas to federal charges of sexually abusing a teen runaway, the Associated Press reported.

In October 2017, an airman stationed at DAFB was sentenced federally to five years of prison followed by 10 years of supervised release for having allegedly collected more than 10,000 images and 3,000 videos of children engaging in sexually explicit conduct, including but not limited to sexual intercourse, according to the U.S. Attorney District of Delaware.

Of the 162 identified victims, federal authorities said 16 came forward seeking restitution.

The most recent arrest followed an investigation that began Dec. 19 following a complaint received through a Division of Family Services hotline, the Delaware State Police said.

The Troop 3 Major Crimes Unit followed up and determined that the 14-year-old girl claimed Mr. White had allegedly impregnated her during “an active sexual relationship” ongoing since May 2017.

Charges against Mr. White included nine counts of third-degree rape and continuous sexual abuse of a child. Mr. White was arraigned through Justice of the Peace Court 2 in Rehoboth Beach and committed to James T. Vaughn Correctional Center near Smyrna on $200,000 secured bond.

State Police were told that the alleged incidents had occurred at Mr. White’s home in the 3000 block of Henry Cowgill Road. authorities said.

“Because of the sensitivity of this case, and in consideration of the victim, only limited information will be released,” DSP spokeswoman Master Cpl. Melissa Jaffe said.

The United States Air Force issued a news release Wednesday, noting that its Office of Special Investigations had coordinated efforts with the Delaware State Police. The USAF said Mr. White is a reserve loadmaster assigned to the 709th Airlift Squadron, 512th Airlift Wing, an Air Force Reserve Command Unit.

“He is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt,” the statement read.

“The U.S. Air Force takes charges of this nature very seriously, as acts of sexual assault are a crime that are neither condoned nor tolerated. The U.S. Air Force holds individuals appropriately accountable for their actions, whether through the Uniform Code of Military Justice or through coordination and cooperation with local authorities.”

The USAF also said, “Base leadership talks with its Airmen every day about treating one another – as well as those within our community – with dignity and respect. Face-to-face conversations with Airmen will continue at every level, reinforcing that every Airman is responsible for their actions, both on and off duty.”

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