TINKER AIR FORCE BASE — A roommate discovered the disturbing video titles on the computer of Airman 1st Class Chad McClelland-Hall while both were deployed last year to Saudi Arabia.
After struggling with what to do for a few days, the roommate went to his superiors. An investigation ensued.
Earlier this month, McClelland-Hall found himself in a courtroom at Tinker Air Force Base facing a court-martial on charges that included possession of child pornography.
The military judge, Lt. Col. Grant Kratz, found McClelland-Hall guilty of possession of child pornography.
In a brief statement before Kratz imposed a sentence, McClelland-Hall said he was ready to accept his punishment and move forward with his life. He described himself as a hard worker and loving father who asked that his sentence not keep him away from his family or young son for too long.
“Please have mercy on me, your honor,'' he concluded.
Kratz ruled that McClelland-Hall, a 2007 high school graduate, be confined for 20 months, reduced to the lowest rank and receive a bad conduct discharge. He also will have to register as a sex offender. Kratz's ruling still must be approved by Lt. Gen. Bruce A. Litchfield, commander of the Air Force Sustainment Center at Tinker, who could lessen the sentence.
The Department of Defense recently changed a portion of the Uniform Code of Military Justice to make it easier to prosecute child pornography cases that occur in war zones, overseas and certain other situations. While cases such as McClelland-Hall's continue to be an issue for the military, a Pentagon spokesman downplayed the severity of the problem.
“While we agree that this is a particularly disgusting crime, it simply does not appear to be — purely from a numbers perspective — that big of a problem for us,” Lt. Col. Todd Breasseale wrote in an email.
The Defense Computer Forensics Laboratory examines evidence in child pornography cases against active-duty military, civilian employees and families of service members. The lab performed 391 such examinations in fiscal year 2012, a decrease from the 454 it performed in 2011.
So far this year, the Army has tried 50 soldiers on child pornography charges. Of those, 45 were convicted and five acquitted. In 2011, 37 soldiers were convicted on child pornography charges.
While we agree that this is a particularly disgusting crime, it simply does not appear to be — purely from a numbers perspective — that big of a problem for us.”
Lt. Col. Todd Breasseale,