June 2018

US airman caught trying to meet girl, 12, while stationed in UK

A US airman has been jailed after being snared by paedophile hunters posing as a 12-year-old girl he had arranged to meet.

Jacob Ozbirn was stationed in England when he began grooming the youngster online and arranged to meet two hours from his base at RAF Mildenhall, in Suffolk.

The 30 year-old, who claimed he was a virgin, even tried to book a hotel for him and the schoolgirl before driving to the agreed meeting place.

However, the girl did not exist and he had unwittingly been corresponding with a member of Keeping Kids Safe who broadcast their ‘sting’ live on Facebook.

Now the elite airman, who was being fast tracked for promotion, will be kicked out of the military once he has served his jail term back home in America.

Ozbirn was caught out after he travelled to a secluded country lane in Bretby, Derbyshire, to meet an underage girl after grooming her online and was caught on camera by the vigilantes.

During the 57 minute video, Ozbirn can be seen saying he had groomed the child in a bid to meet up and simply educate her about the dangers of predators, rather than for any other intentions.

He said he believed he had not broken the law by grooming the child. He was later arrested by Derbyshire Police, who had been contacted by the paedophile hunters, but the case was later handed to the US Air Force Office of Special Investigations.

Airman First Class Ozbirn appeared before a military court and found guilty following a three-day trial last month. Under US law, he faced two charges of attempted sexual abuse of a child – for sending lewd texts to someone who he thought was a 12-year-old girl – one charge of attempted sexual assault of a child and one charge of attempted possession of child abuse images

Captain Chris Sullivan, public affairs advisor of the 352nd Special Operations Wing at RAF Mildenhall, said: ‘As military members, we must adhere to the highest standards of professionalism.

‘We will continue to use all available resources to identify and investigate members suspected of failing to meet our standards, and when necessary, take appropriate administrative or disciplinary action against them.’

Ozbirn, who was based at RAF Mildenhall for a year, has been deported back to the US where he is now serving his sentence in a military prison.

Ozbirn, who told the hunters that his job was to ‘make maps’, will also be required to register as a sex offender for the remainder of his life.

In his texts to decoys from Keeping Kids Safe, which were read out during the video, he alleged he had tried to book a hotel room but discovered there were no rooms available.

The serviceman later said he and the girl would ‘have to use’ his car, adding it was ‘old but clean’, or find another location. Ozbirn also asked the girl, who had told him she was 12, if she was OK to have sex with him.

A spokesman for hunter group said: ‘Ozbirn arranged to meet two decoys for sex and was caught on the Derbyshire/Staffordshire border.

‘We had three decoys in total on him. A massive well done to everyone on this case as at times it was very mentally straining and had members away from their families for a week.

‘Again a massive thank you and well done for the commitment in going to court and getting the result and to everyone else that was also questioned by the OCI (Office of Criminal Investigation).’