A Civilian Army leader led a child porn ring and risked US security

David Frodsham was the top civilian commander on an American air base in Afghanistan. He "jokingly" asked an IT technician to access YouPorn, a video-sharing pornographic website.

A Civilian Army leader led a child porn ring and risked US security

Frodsham said to one woman that he had hired her while in war zone because he "wanted surrounded by beautiful women" and called other people "honey," babe, and "cougar" before being ordered home after multiple accusations of sexual harassment were made.

According to an investigative file from the U.S. Army obtained by The Associated Press, one commanding officer stated that Frodsham should be removed from his position at Bagram Airfield to return to Fort Huachuca. Fort Huachuca is a major Army installation in Arizona.

According to his Army resume, Frodsham was reunited with the Network Enterprise Technology Command in fall 2015. He had previously served as the director of personnel for 15,000 soldiers and civilians under a global command.

He was arrested in Arizona the spring of the next year for leading a child abuse ring, which included an Army sergeant posting child pornography online. One of Frodsham’s adopted sons was among the victims.

Frodsham pleaded guilty in 2016 to sexual abuse charges and is currently serving a 17 year sentence. The AP reviewed records and found that both the U.S. Army (and the state of Arizona) ignored or missed multiple red flags for more than a decade. This allowed Frodsham, who allegedly abused his adopted son and other children over many years while putting national security in danger.

Frodsham and Barbara were allowed by the state to foster, adopt, and retain custody of their children, despite almost 20 complaints and attempted complaints of abuse, neglect and licensing violations. Frodsham's illicit sexual activities made him vulnerable to blackmail and the Army granted Frodsham security clearances as well as sensitive jobs.

Frank Figliuzzi was the FBI's former assistant director for counterintelligence. He stated that he would have been an obvious target because of his position and his geographic location. "Fort Huachuca" is one of the most sensitive installations in the United States. According to its website, "People with security concerns should not be there." Fort Huachuca, which is also home to NETCOM, was Frodsham's work.

Fort Huachuca public relations officers confirmed that Frodsham worked as a program manager at NETCOM before he was charged with child sex abuse. They refused to confirm whether Frodsham had been disciplined following his return from Afghanistan or whether the Army considered him a security threat.

Frodsham, a former Sgt. Randall Bischak, a former Sgt. The investigation continues because Sierra Vista police suspect that additional men were involved.

The criminal investigation has now spilled over to civil court. Two of Frodsham’s adopted sons filed separate lawsuits against state to license David and Barbara Frodsham foster parents in a home they claim was sexually and physically abused all their lives.

Attorney Lynne Cadigan representing all three of them said Tuesday that a third adopted son will file suit in Arizona state court in Cochise County. Trever Frodsham, 19, claims that case workers failed to notice or overlook numerous warning signs that David Frodsham and Barbara Frodsham were not suitable parents. One of the Frodshams biological daughters filed a 2002 sex abuse report against her older brother. It also revealed that Barbara and David Frodsham had been victims of child sex violence.

Trever's claims echo those in an earlier lawsuit by Ryan Frodsham (his biological brother), and another one by Neal Taylor (both of whom were adopted into the Frodsham family).

Ryan Frodsham, a former adoptive father, stated that he began sexually abusing Ryan when he was nine or ten years old. The abuse continued into his teens when David Frodsham offered his son's sexual services. Ryan stated, "It makes me feel sick thinking about it."

Ryan Frodsham claimed that the state was told by David and Barbara Frodsham that they were physically abusing their children. He said that the Frodshams slapped their children in the face, hit them with a spoon, put hot sauce in their mouths and pulled their hair. Ryan claimed that Barbara had never sexually abused his child, but that he walked into the room where David was molesting him at least two times.

He said, "She knew what was happening."

According to the two lawsuits filed by the adopted boys and the related legal filings, investigators from the Department of Child Safety as well as case workers with Catholic Community Services who subcontract foster and adoption work to the state failed effectively to follow up on 19 complaints or attempted complaints about the Frodsham home that spanned more than a decade.

The Frodshams filed for their foster care license in 2002. They continued to file complaints until 2015 when David Frodsham was arrested on charges of disorderly conduct and driving drunk while children were in his car. This led the state to suspend their license and take all foster children out of their home. However, the charges were eventually dropped.

Frodsham was deployed to Afghanistan five months later. He was then ordered back to Arizona, after just four months of service.

REPORTS ARE COMMUNICATED WITH DEAF EARS

According to the lawsuits, the Frodshams' adopted children tried to report their sexual and physical abuses but failed.

Neal Taylor's lawsuit claims that he tried to report David Frodsham's sexual abuse to him by making two calls to his case manager. Both of these calls were placed from school.

According to Neal's lawsuit, the first time the case manager received the call, he reported it to Neal’s adoptive mom, who "interrogated” him and "proceeded punishing" him. The second time, the manager refused to meet him, as he would have to drive 90 minutes from Tucson, Sierra Vista, to discuss the reasons for his call.

Ryan Frodsham's lawsuit, and related legal filings, state that he reported to Sierra Vista police repeated alleged physical abuse from Barbara Frodsham when he was twelve years old. He fled his home in the summer of 2000. The police took photographs of several bruises and returned him to Barbara Frodsham. They also reported the incident to state Department of Child Safety. Ryan's allegations were not supported by the photos and police report. A case worker met Ryan five weeks later.

Darren DaRonco, spokesperson for Arizona Department of Child Safety, declined to answer questions specific about the lawsuits. Instead, he sent an email detailing the state's screening procedures for prospective foster and adoptive parent. DaRonco stated that "despite all these safeguards, people sometimes are able to avoid detection," especially if the person has not had any prior criminal or child abuse histories."

Barbara Frodsham and David Frodsham both claimed they were minors abused.

Barbara Frodsham stated that neither her husband nor she had been sexually victimized in their application to become foster parents. Ryan Frodsham's lawsuit. She testified in pretrial testimony that she would have disclosed her abuse if she was asked by a state investigator.

After his guilty plea, David Frodsham told a probation official that he was abused as a child.

Child welfare experts believe that people who have suffered from child sexual abuse in the past are more likely than others to abuse children in their own homes. They should be interviewed to make sure they have overcome this trauma before they can provide foster care.

According to Kathleen Faller, an expert witness in Ryan Frodsham’s lawsuit, Arizona's child welfare workers "didn't know how to interview" and didn't get candid answers. Faller, in pretrial testimony, also stated that the state shouldn't have granted the Frodshams a foster care license.

Barbara Frodsham divorced David after David pleaded guilty to the charges. She did not return numerous telephone calls from AP and she did not answer detailed questions on her voicemail. According to law enforcement records, she was working as a personnel specialist at Fort Huachuca at the time her husband was sentenced. Fort Huachuca spokeswoman said that she still holds the job.

The state's attorneys and other defendants seek to dismiss the cases. This is partly due to the fact that state law grants immunity to employees of the state for errors or misjudgments made in the course their work. Neal Taylor and the Frodsham brothers claim that "gross negligence" is not protected by law.

Also, the state claims that all complaints regarding the Frodsham children or the Frodsham house were appropriately handled.

CHILD SEX ABUSERING RING

Frodsham's case began as child sex abuse investigations usually do. An undercover Homeland Security agent was found lurking in a chatroom favored by child pornographers. The Kik messaging app allowed the agent to meet "Pup Brass", a Philadelphia-based man who posted videos and photos titled "pedopicsandvidd".

Kik allows users anonymity, but it also stores IP addresses. These help identify a device’s internet connection and the owner of the device. A probable cause statement from the Sierra Vista Police Department states that federal and local law enforcement officers used the IP address and other information, some of which was gleaned via social media accounts, to quickly determine that "Pup Brass" is Sgt. Randall Bischak.

Bischak, a 59 year-old man who he called Dave, and his teenage son, confessed to having had sex with Dave when they raided his house. Bischak secretly recorded at least one instance of the sex. Investigators were also told by him that he had spoken with Frodsham about having sex in small children's rooms and that Frodsham had provided at least one of those "little ones."

Frodsham was familiar with Thomas Ransford who is a specialist in child sex abuse cases. He was a Fort Huachuca military police officer in the mid-2000s, when Frodsham was Director of Training, Plans, Mobilization and Security. He was a friend of mine. Ransford said that he was familiar with him and had attended meetings with him. Ransford also knew Frodsham's foster children were always in trouble.

Ransford first interrogated Frodsham and he denied all. Ransford said that Frodsham was pompous and seemed to be the smartest man in the room. Ransford then played the video Bischak had secretly taken showing himself having three-way sexual relations with Frodsham, Ryan, and Frodsham started to admit his crimes.

Ryan Frodsham initially denied that his father had abused Ryan. Ransford stated in probable cause that Ryan Frodsham initially denied his father had abused him.

Ransford presented Ryan with a compromising photo taken from Bischak’s cell phone. Ryan opened up when Ransford did. Ransford stated that Ryan identified other men he claimed to be part of his father’s child sex abuse network over the course of several months. This prompted the ongoing investigation.

Ransford stated, "There are others we're conscious of." "It's open."

The Frodsham child sex exploitation ring is one of many cases of sex abuse that have been brought to light in Cochise County. They include:

John Daly III. Authorities arrested John Daly III, a retired Border Patrol agent, last year after DNA evidence led to them suspecting him in at most eight rapes. They also considered whether he was the East Valley rapist who terrorized women outside Phoenix during the 1990s. Multiple counts of sexual assault, kidnapping and other charges have been filed against him by the Maricopa and Cochise county prosecutors. Daly has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

-- Dana Thornhill. After pleading guilty for years to sexually abusing his children, Thornhill was sentenced to 40 years in prison. Thornhill was arrested following a standoff with police. He had been hiding in a church. Thornhill was at that time the Naco Border Crossing chaplain.

Paul Adams. Adams was accused of raping one of his daughters (the youngest at 6 weeks) and recording videos of the sexual assaults. Adams was also charged with posting the videos on the Internet. Adams was stationed at Naco Border Crossing, where he also took his own life.

Ransford believes that the number of cases is due to effective prosecution and good police work. This gives victims and others confidence to report child sexual abuse. He said, "People report because it's known that something will be done about."

Cadigan, an attorney representing Neal Taylor and the Frodsham brothers, is concerned that child sex abuse in Arizona may be on the rise. She said, "Law enforcement is very effective, and they have my appreciation, but I've been taking cases for 30 years, and I've never felt so busy."

A SCANDAL-PLAGUED DEPARTMENT

The alleged physical and sexual abuse suffered by Neal Taylor and the Frodsham brothers occurred during a scandalous time in Arizona's child welfare system. Officials revealed in 2013 that the Department of Protective Services, then known as the Department of Protective Services, had a backlog of over 6,500 complaints of abuse and neglect it had not investigated.

This revelation led to the resignation of then-Gov. Jan Brewer decided to disband the entire department and establish a new cabinet-level office, the Department of Child Safety. Brewer, a Republican, stated that "it is evident that our system for child welfare is broken, impeded years of operational failures."

Deep budget cuts to family support services were the root cause of the scandal. This led to an increase in abuse and neglect complaints, as well as what the auditor general would later call "unmanageable workloads", staff turnover, and the limited experience of CPS supervisors.

An analysis done for the Arizona State Legislature in 2014 showed that Arizona's workload increased more than any other state during the decade ending in 2012. The analysis also revealed that the time taken to respond to abuse and neglect complaints jumped from 63 hours up to almost 250 hours between 2009 and 2012.

The state is trying to avoid any mention of the troubled history of the department in its defense against Ryan Frodsham’s lawsuit. In a pretrial motion, the state stated that there is no evidence that the problems that caused the dissolution CPS had any connection to or effect on Ryan Frodsham's case.

David and Barbara Frodsham had been licensed as foster parents in 2002 at the beginning of the most difficult period for the department. They adopted the three men and went to court a decade later. Ryan Frodsham's lawyers stated that the jury has the right to see all of it.

Ryan Frodsham, an AP interviewee, stated that he filed the lawsuit because he wanted one thing: "I want to see the state admit what it did wrong."


 

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