An educator who taught children of US servicemen at a military base in Germany is accused of sexually assaulting two young students, court records show.
Stefan Eberhard Zappey was a civilian employee of the U.S. Department of Defense assigned to an elementary school at a military base near Stuttgart, Germany, prosecutors said.
On Tuesday, he was indicted by a federal grand jury in Georgia on two counts of aggravated child sexual abuse by someone employed by the military outside the United States.
In March, a student told a teacher that she was abused in 2007 and 2008, when she was under 9, according to a recently unsealed complaint filed in the U.S. District Court in Georgia. She said she didn’t report the abuse at the time because she didn’t know it was wrong, the complaint says.
His report led military investigators to interview other former students and faculty members, some of whom told stories of inappropriate touching by Zappey. Another girl also said that when she was under 9, Zappey would call her at her desk during class and put her hand in her shirts and pants, court records show.
A federal public defender representing Zappey did not respond to a request for comment.
An FBI special agent said he learned that Zappey was in the United States this summer to visit relatives. He was arrested last month in Georgia after she found her cell phone in Fayetteville, a town south of Atlanta. Federal law allows Zappey, who is a U.S. citizen, to be charged in the United States if the crimes took place at a U.S. military facility overseas.
A preliminary hearing set for July 30 was canceled because Zappey was in quarantine due to his exposure to COVID-19. He is being held in a federal detention center in Lovejoy, Georgia, south of Atlanta.