PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — A U.S. Army recruiter assigned to the Portsmouth area has been arrested on accusations of inappropriate sexual contact with a child under his supervision.  

Portsmouth police confirmed that Tremaine Speller, 25, was arrested on Friday and charged with two counts of taking indecent liberties with a child by a person in a custodial or supervisory relationship. 

They say the department’s Special Victims Unit began its investigation after receiving a tip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children about a potential inappropriate relationship between Speller and a juvenile.  

The child’s mother says the alleged assault happened at Woodrow Wilson High School, where school officials confirmed Speller was assigned by the Army as a recruiter. He was not a school employee, officials added.  

Tremaine Speller. (Booking photo courtesy of Portsmouth Police Department)

The school’s principal, Dr. Timothy Johnson, says his administration immediately began investigating and notified police after hearing the allegations against Speller. Johnson says Speller also won’t return to the school regardless of the outcome of the investigation. 

Here’s the message sent out by Johnson to the school community. 

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.

Military recruiters do not work for the school division, and we have
been in contact with the commanding officer. Regardless of the outcome
of investigations, the recruiter will not return to Woodrow Wilson
High School.

Lieutenant Colonel Andrew Burgess, the commander of the U.S. Army Recruiting Battalion – Richmond, said Speller has been suspended from all recruiting duties in Portsmouth and is assigned to administrative duties in Norfolk in the meantime.

Here’s Burgess’s full statement: 

“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.”

If you have information about the ongoing investigation, police ask you to call the Crime Line at 1-888-LOCK-U-UP or use the P3 tips app.