David Frodsham was a civilian commander at a US air base in Afghanistan when he was ordered back to the United States by army commanders amid multiple allegations of sexual harassment.
“I would not recommend returning him to a position of authority, but rather initiate disciplinary action at his base,” one of the military chiefs wrote, according to an investigative file obtained by the Associated Press.
But when Frodsham returned to his base at Fort Huachuca, Arizona, in the fall of 2015, he rejoined the Army’s information technology services provider, NETCOM, where he had served as personnel director in charge of 15,000 soldiers and civilians. , according to his army resume.
In the spring of the following year, he was arrested in Arizona for leading a gang that sexually abused minors, which included an Army sergeant who posted child pornography on the Internet. Among the victims was an adopted son of Frodsham.
Frodsham pleaded guilty to sexual abuse charges in 2016 and is serving a 17-year prison sentence. But documents reviewed by the AP indicate that the military and the state of Arizona did not detect, or ignored, warning signs for more than a decade, during which Frodsham allegedly abused his son and other minors, practices that made him vulnerable to blackmail.
“He would have been an obvious target for foreign intelligence services because of his title and his location,” said Frank Figliuzzi, a former FBI deputy director of counterintelligence. “Fort Huachuca is one of the most sensitive installations in the continental United States.” The barracks houses NETCOM and the Army’s Intelligence and Security Command, according to its website.
Officials from the Fort Huachuca public relations department confirmed that Frodsham was a NETCOM program manager before he was arrested for sexual abuse of minors. They declined to say whether he was punished upon his return from Afghanistan or whether the military once considered him a risk.
Now, the investigation of the Frodsham gang has moved to civil court, where two of his adopted children have filed lawsuits against the state for allowing David and Barbara Frodsham to adopt minors and live in a home where they were physically and sexually abused. throughout their lives.
A third adopted son is also expected to file a lawsuit in Arizona’s Cochise County state court, according to attorney Lynne Cadigan, who represents the three.
In the latest lawsuit, Trever Frodsham, 19, says staff handling his case missed or ignored signs that David and Barbara Frodsham were unqualified to be parents. Those clues included a 2002 sexual abuse lawsuit filed with police by one of the Frodshams’ biological daughters against an older biological brother and the fact that both David and Barbara Frodsham were themselves victims of child sexual abuse.
Trever’s claims echo others made in a previous lawsuit by his older biological brother, Ryan Frodsham, and by Neal Taylor, both adopted by the Frodshams.
In his lawsuit, Ryan Frodsham said the state was told David and Barbara Frodsham physically abused their children, “punching them in the face, pinching them, hitting them with a wooden spoon” and not allowing them to use the bathroom unless they left the door. open.
In an interview with the AP, Ryan Frodsham said Barbara Frodsham never sexually abused him, but was in a room when David abused him on at least two occasions. “I knew what was going on,” she assured.
Arizona Department of Child Protection spokesman Darren DaRonco did not respond to specific questions about the lawsuits. He insisted that he sent an email outlining the state’s procedures for vetting potential foster parents and adoptive parents. “Despite all protective measures, people sometimes manage to avoid detection,” DaRonco said. “Especially if a person does not have a criminal record or a history of child abuse.”
David and Barbara Frodsham say they were both victims of child abuse, according to Trever Frodsham’s lawsuit. Many experts on the subject believe that people with a history of sexual abuse are more likely to abuse children in their own homes and that authorities should make sure they have overcome the trauma before accepting them as foster parents.
Barbara Frodsham, who divorced David after he pleaded guilty, did not return AP calls. When her husband was convicted, she was working in the personnel department at Fort Huachuca. A spokesman for the barracks said that she still holds that position.
Court-appointed attorneys and attorneys for others charged in the case have asked that the claims be dismissed on the grounds that state law provides immunity to public employees for errors of judgment or failures they may have incurred in carrying out their duties. The laws, however, do not offer immunity to those who engage in “gross negligence,” as the Frodsham brothers and Neal Taylor argue.
The state also says that the allegations about Frodsham’s children and what was going on in their home were handled appropriately.