DENVER (AP) – A decorated Army officer came under suspicion in a series of child sexual assault and enticement cases after police saw him driving a vehicle matching descriptions given by children who reported some of the incidents, authorities said Wednesday.
First Lt. Aaron G. Lucas faces at least 20 counts, including sexual assault on a child, kidnapping, enticement and indecent exposure. The charges stem from a dozen or more incidents beginning in June 2010 in communities around Fort Carson, where Lucas is stationed.
He was released on bond and has not entered a plea. Lucas’ attorney did not immediately return a call seeking comment.
Lucas, 31, is married and has two children, according to police in Fountain, a town near Fort Carson where Lucas is accused in 10 incidents. The Army said he is an artillery officer from Huntsville, Ala.
Prosecutors have filed charges of attempted sexual assault on a child, enticement of a child and indecent exposure based on incidents reported by Fountain police starting in November 2011.
He also faces charges of aggravated sexual assault on a child, enticement and indecent exposure in Colorado Springs and kidnapping and enticement in El Paso County.
Court records show the Colorado Springs charges stem from one or more incidents in June 2010. A police spokeswoman there didn’t immediately return a call seeking comment.
In the kidnapping charge, Lucas is accused of forcing a girl into a vehicle this June and dropping her off later. Sheriff’s Lt. Jeff Kramer said he did not know if the girl had been assaulted.
Lucas was arrested Oct. 23 after investigators from the three law-enforcement agencies formed a task force.
WAFF-TV in Huntsville, Ala., reported deputies in Madison County, Ala., had been in contact with Fort Carson about unsolved incidents of enticement and indecent exposure in Alabama. A Madison County deputy did not immediately return a call Wednesday.
Fountain Police Sgt. Scott Gilbertsen said the trail that led Colorado investigators to Lucas started in July, when Gilbertsen reviewed some unsolved child-enticement cases and noticed similarities in three incidents, including vehicle descriptions.
In late September, a Fountain police officer spotted Lucas in a vehicle that matched the children’s accounts, and the officer spoke with Lucas, Gilbertsen said.
The officer reported the encounter to Gilbertsen, who then showed Lucas’ photo to some of the children in a photo lineup. Some of the children identified Lucas as the man they encountered, Gilbertsen said.
Gilbertsen’s account was first reported by The Gazette of Colorado Springs.
Lucas joined the active-duty Army in June 2009 after serving in the Reserve and National Guard, the Army said. His decorations include the Bronze Star Medal, awarded for heroic or meritorious achievement, and the Afghan Campaign Medal.
The Army has not released details of his deployments.
– By Dan Elliott, AP Writer
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