Local News

Neighbors Support Accused Pope Airman

Posted August 12, 2002 10:47 a.m. EDT

— Authorities said a Pope airman faces nearly 100 child sex abuse charges.

Authorites said Air Force Sgt. Stephen Ray Wallace, 37, of 2082 Windlock Drive, faces 97 charges of sexual abuse involving a 14-year-old girl and a 12-year-old girl. The charges range from taking indecent liberties with a minor to statuory rape.

According to child abuse investigators, the girls' mother reported the abuse July 23 after reading an excerpt from her daughter's diary. Authorities said the abuse had been going on twice a month since April 1, 2001.

Wallace has been with the Air Force for almost 16 years. He has no prior criminal record.

Neighbors who know Wallace say he is innocent.

"I wouldn't think he would be the type of person that would do something like this," neighbor Kathy Owens said.

"I don't believe he did it at all," neighbor Sue Grant said.

Wallace is being held in the Cumberland County Jail under $1,980,000 bond. He will have a first district court appearance Monday.

Authorities said they are continuing their investigation.