'Sadistic' and 'Cruel': Judge Sentences Former Air Force Special Agent to 10 Years for Sex Abuse of Minor

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Members of the 62nd Civil Engineer Squadron after installing the new Joint Base Lewis-McChord sign
Members of the 62nd Civil Engineer Squadron pack up after installing the new Joint Base Lewis-McChord sign at the entrance of the base. (Abner Guzman/U.S. Air Force photo)

A former Air Force special agent was sentenced to 10 years in prison Monday after he pleaded guilty to a child sex crime that happened at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington state.

Joshua Carl Harrod, 44, of Spanaway, Washington, who also later served as a National Guard recruiter, worked for the Air Force Office of Special Investigations when he sexually molested a child left in his care over a seven-month period in his home on the base, according to a Monday news release from the U.S. Attorney's Office.

U.S. District Judge Benjamin Settle said Harrod's crimes were "sadistic" and "indescribably cruel," according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Washington. Harrod pleaded guilty to enticement of a minor, the news release said.

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Harrod, according to authorities, sexually molested the child between October 2017 and April 2018 at his residence. A December sentencing memo from the U.S. attorney's office detailed that he was living at the time in a trailer in Holiday Park, a campground located at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

The minor victim was between the ages of seven and eight years old and would visit him on weekends, when Harrod would coerce the child "to engage in sexual acts," the sentencing memo details.

He left the Air Force in 2018 and went on to serve in the Army National Guard.

"Harrod separated from the Air Force in 2018 and, prior to his arrest in this case, served as a recruiter for the Army National Guard in Lakewood, Washington," the U.S. attorney's office said.

He was charged in July 2021 following a grand jury indictment with five counts of sexual abuse of a child under the age of 12, according to a news release at the time. He pleaded guilty in October 2023.

The FBI, the Air Force Office of Special Investigations, Joint Base Lewis-McChord military police, local police and the Washington State Patrol all contributed to the investigation.

Harrod also pleaded guilty to making a false statement to a government agency for efforts to falsify phone records related to evidence in the case, the news release said.

The December sentencing memo stated that Harrod forwarded a message to a family law attorney claiming to be from the child's mother stating, "I don't know why you keep fighting me I'll have [the victim] say whatever it takes for you to never be able to see the girls ever again."

Agents investigating Harrod said he falsified the message as well as a phone bill to make it appear the message came from the child's mother.

"Harrod fabricated it by sending himself the message from his work phone, and altering the contact information in his phone to make it appear it came from [the minor victim's] mother," the memo details.

In addition to the 10-year sentence, Settle also ordered lifetime supervised release after Harrod's prison term.

"The consequences of many crimes before me do not have the impact that this one does," Settle said in the news release. "Victims of these crimes carry with them a life sentence."

Harrod's sentencing comes amid other investigations into military recruiters.

In November, Military.com reported that the Marine Corps is investigating a gunnery sergeant who wrote a self-published "memoir" detailing a relationship with a young potential recruit while he worked in a recruiting office in Texas.

The Marine published the story of what he described as "a scandalous romantic relationship" with a "young woman ... who wanted to join [the military]" in October.

Related: A Marine Recruiter's 'Grooming' of a Teenage Recruit Led to an Investigation. The Family Says He's Still Terrorizing Them.

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