A former resident of Fort Stewart faces up to life in prison on charges of sexually abusing a child.
Meighan O’Donnell, 28, of Huntington, N.Y., was indicted by a U.S. District Court grand jury on one count of Aggravated Sexual Abuse of a Child Under 12, and Abusive Sexual Contact With a Child Under 12, said Bobby L. Christine, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia. The charges carry a potential penalty of up to life in prison. There is no parole in the federal system.
“Along with our law enforcement partners, we will aggressively pursue anyone who would exploit or endanger the most vulnerable members of our community,” said U.S. Attorney Christine. “We commend the investigators and child advocates who help protect these young citizens from harm.”
Redmond, Ore., police contacted the FBI after a juvenile reported to a child advocate that sexual abuse had occurred when the juvenile was a resident of Fort Stewart. O’Donnell later was located and charged in New York.
“Ending child sexual abuse takes strong partnerships between law enforcement, child advocacy groups and citizens,” said Chris Hacker, Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta. “This case is a perfect example of how that works. An arrest would not have been possible without the courage of a young child, the awareness of a child advocate, and the strong law enforcement partnerships that cross this country.”
Criminal indictments contain only charges; defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
The case is being investigated by the FBI and the U.S. Army Criminal Investigations Command (CID), and prosecuted for the United States by Assistant U.S. Attorney Joshua S. Bearden.