USAF Academy ethics instructor pleads guilty to sexual exploitation of a child; faces up to 3 months in jail

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Capt. Paul Sikkema. (Arapahoe Sherriff’s Office)

An ethics instructor at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs pleaded guilty to sexual exploitation of a child for trying to set up a meeting with a sheriff’s deputy posing as a 14-year-old girl.

As part of the plea deal, Paul Sikkema, 29, will serve 10 years of sex offender intensive supervised probation, according to a news release from the 18th Judicial District Attorney’s Office. A judge could also sentence Sikkema to 90 days in jail at a hearing scheduled for Dec. 13.

Beginning in January, Sikkema traded explicit online messages and texts with a person he believed to be a 14-year-old girl and proposed they meet. In April, deputies with the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office called Sikkema and revealed he had in fact talked with a deputy in the Internet Crimes Against Children unit.



“This conduct is shameful for the perpetrator and embarrassing for our phenomenal Air Force Academy,” 18th Judicial District Attorney George Brauchler said in a news release.

The Air Force Academy removed Sikkema from his job as an instructor as soon as charges were filed against him, academy spokesman Meade Warthen said in an email. Once the criminal case is concluded, academy officials will use the evidence obtained through the investigation to determine further actions.



“Generally speaking though his guilty plea and conviction will automatically trigger discharge actions,” Warthen said.

Sikkema graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy in 2012 and taught ethics in the philosophy department. He holds the rank of captain in the Air Force.

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3 thoughts on “USAF Academy ethics instructor pleads guilty to sexual exploitation of a child; faces up to 3 months in jail

  1. The police bait and switch men so that they believe they are talking with an adult. In fact they are. Then pretend to be a minor. It is not unethical to pretend sexual fantasies. Shame on the police for their deceptive targeting of innocent citizens. shame on the public for not questioning what the police say. They are in it for the money – NOT your safety.

  2. I disagree that this tactic is wrong. People are born with sexual orientations that they cannot change, and being attracted to minors is an orientation. Law enforcement’s job is to find these people before that cause harm to a minor. Keep in mind, by definition a minor cannot give consent until their brain is fully developed. This is why so many high school teachers, of all genders, exploit their students.

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