As recently reported by Jim Verchio at Popular Military, a Federal Grand Jury has issued an indictment charging Air Force Lieutenant Jesse Furse, of Kirtland Air Force Base in New Mexico, with eight counts of distributing child pornography. Furse is also charged with possession.
The charges stem from an investigation initiated by a New Mexico criminal task force in late 2015 which was eventually referred to the Air Force in January of 2016. What the Air Force initially did with that information is now being questioned by members of the base community, some of whom claim the base may have failed in its duty to inform them of a potential danger in their midst.
At issue is the fact that Furse’s home was reportedly authorized by base officials as a child care location, with his spouse licensed to provide care. Some are alleging that when the Air Force first learned of the allegations against Furse, it owed them a duty of care that included revoking Furse’s license, notifying the community, or both.
It’s not clear whether such a duty was rendered, and discussions about it on Kirtland’s various social media outlets are being heavily censored. Behind that censorship, if reports are to be believed, stands a powerful and influential member of the base’s “Key Spouse” network — one who has threatened commenters with unwelcome attention from law enforcement and investigative authorities if they speak out of turn. Meanwhile, parents who had their kids in the Furse home are not being given any information. They are understandably distressed.
Clearly, there’s an absence of dialogue on an issue obviously troubling for parents in the Kirtland community. The void is being filled by likely well-meaning but potentially misguided spokespersons who’ve elected themselves gatekeepers. It’s well past time for the actual, paid leaders of Kirtland to step into their roles and speak to the community about this issue. There’s way to provide clear information and reassurance while respecting Furse’s presumed innocence. Finding that way is what we pay senior officers to do.