Defence chiefs have appealed for any victims of sexual offences by service personnel to contact them as it emerged that a Royal Air Force corporal is in custody accused of possession and distribution of indecent images of children.
Roger Heal was held following an investigation by a Royal Air Force Police sexual offences and child abuse investigation team, the RAF Police said in a statement.
The RAF takes allegations of this nature very seriously and is dedicated to investigating them thoroughly.RAF spokesman
Investigators believe the serviceman has had contact with children through his voluntary work for youth organisations including the scouts, air cadets and civilian football and cricket clubs, predominantly in the Northumbria Police force area and London, Thames Valley and Cheshire, between 2001 and 2014.
The Ministry of Defence (MoD) is committed to supporting the safeguarding of children, or any other individual, who may have been affected by Corporal Heal or any other serviceperson, no matter where or when the incident took place, the statement said.
Anyone who was the victim of a sexual offence perpetrated by a serviceperson or had information relating to the activities of any individual which might have affected others was urged to get in contact, in absolute confidence, via the Service Police Crime Bureau, on 023 9228 5170.
An RAF spokesman said: “The RAF takes allegations of this nature very seriously and is dedicated to investigating them thoroughly. This has been a long and detailed investigation and from the very beginning our main focus has been and remains on ensuring that any victims and their families receive the fullest support. However, it would be inappropriate for the RAF or the MoD to comment further while legal proceedings are on-going.”
Corporal Heal is being held at the Colchester Military Corrective Training Centre, and there is due to be an internal pre-court martial hearing into his case there tomorrow.