U.S. Army recruiter at Portsmouth high school arrested for alleged inappropriate contact with student

PORTSMOUTH, Va. – A U.S. Army recruiter at Woodrow Wilson High School was arrested in early January amid allegations of inappropriate contact with a student.

A spokesperson with Portsmouth Public Schools told News 3 the recruiter does not work for the school district. School administrators have been in contact with the commanding officer, and regardless of the outcome of the investigation, the recruiter will not return to Wilson High.

Tremaine Speller

Families received the following message around 3 p.m. Friday:

Good afternoon. This Dr. Timothy Johnson, principal of Woodrow Wilson High. I’m calling this afternoon to inform you that a military recruiter, who works in our building, has been alleged to have had inappropriate contact with a student.

Upon hearing allegations of misconduct, we immediately investigated and notified police. The safety and security of our students is of utmost importance to us, and we take this responsibility very seriously. We have been and will continue to work closely with police in support of their investigation.

According to military officials, the recruiter has been identified as 25-year-old Staff Sgt. Tremaine Speller.

The Army Recruiting Command provided the following statement Friday night:

Staff Sgt. Tremaine Speller was arrested by the Portsmouth Police Department Thursday, Jan. 10. Speller has been suspended from all recruiting duties at Portsmouth, VA effective Jan. 10 and has been assigned to administrative duties at Norfolk, VA.

We are not at liberty to discuss any details pertaining to this case, as it is under investigation. The Army is cooperating with local authorities and will provide any support required for the investigation.

Army Recruiting Command takes all allegations of misconduct seriously. We do not tolerate inappropriate behavior by anyone in our command. We are the Army’s ambassadors to communities across America, and it is important for everyone on our team to live and demonstrate the Army Values every day.

Recruiters are the face of the Army, and we expect them to serve honorably while representing the force.

Portsmouth Police say detectives received a tip on the incident from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. After an investigation, they have charged Speller with two counts of taking indecent liberties with a child by a person in custodial or supervisory relationship.

Speller was arraigned on Friday, January 11 in Portsmouth Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court. He was issued a $15,000 bond and released from jail at 3 p.m. that same day.

He appeared in Portsmouth JDR Court again on Thursday, August 29 for a preliminary hearing, where all of his charges were certified to a grand jury.

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