JBLM soldier charged with child sex abuse

TACOMA — A Washington state-based soldier accused of repeatedly raping a 10-year-old girl and posting sexual photos of the child online has been charged with aggravated sexual abuse of a child.

The News Tribune reported that Sgt. Joseph French, 27, of Chipley, Fla., was charged Friday in federal court. In a court appearance, he agreed to detention until his next hearing, set for Feb. 28.

The Joint Base Lewis-McChord soldier was arrested Tuesday after the girl’s mother reported the alleged abuse to authorities in Florida.

Florida law enforcement authorities called the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Division, which launched an investigation with the Washington State Patrol’s Missing and Exploited Children Task Force and arrested French.

Court papers say French is accused of abusing the girl for three years.

He is being held on suicide watch at the Pierce County Jail.

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