WILMINGTON, Del. — A Dover airman admitted to investigators he raped a 14-year-old girl as many as five times over a few months after meeting her on Tinder, according to court documents.
Police found the two together, according to court documents.
Zepplin Taylor-McGinness, a 21-year-old stationed at Dover Air Force Base, was arrested by Dover police Monday following an investigation that started in November, police said Thursday.
He was charged with four counts of second-degree rape and endangering the welfare of a child by harboring a runaway. According to court documents, Taylor-McGinness knew she was 14.
Delaware law states a child of 14 years cannot consent to sex.
Taylor-McGinness is the third Dover airman accused of raping a teenager over the past year.
In the Taylor-McGinness case, an officer was informed by the teenager's guardian on Nov. 14 that the Delmar girl was at the Dover Country Club Apartments with Taylor-McGinness, according to court documents.
A Dover police master corporal told the officer this was "the second time in recent months" the teenager had run away and been found with Taylor-McGinness, according to court documents.
Court documents said he told police during one encounter the girl was 14 and a runaway.
Dover police spokesman Master Cpl. Mark Hoffman said police had no evidence of wrongdoing when the two first had been found together and neither would admit they'd had sex. When police found them together again in November, Hoffman said, there was evidence of wrongdoing, but he did not say what it was.
The Air Force Office of Special Investigations interviewed Taylor-McGinness on Nov. 30, according to court documents. During the interview, he admitted to having sex with the girl multiple times on his bed, according to court documents. He said then he'd met her on Tinder.
Hoffman said the Air Force turned the case over to the state, which led to his arrest on Monday. The Air Force directed questions to Dover police and the Attorney General's Office.
"Airman 1st Class Zepplin Taylor-McGinness is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. However, we take all allegations seriously as sexual assault is a crime which violates our core values," an Air Force spokesperson said in an email.
Two Dover airmen — 25-year-old Airman First Class Dalian Washington and 21-year-old Airman First Class Akeem Beazer — were charged in April with keeping and raping a 15-year-old runaway on base.
Both pleaded guilty. Washington will be sentenced later this month.
Beazer, who is from Pompano Beach, Fla., was sentenced in Wilmington last month by U.S. District Court Judge Gregory Sleet after pleading guilty to sex abuse of a minor in October.
"I was taken advantage of by Woody," his victim, now 17, wrote in a letter read to the court that used Beazer's nickname. "I thought he loved me, but it was a joke."
Beazer was with Washington when he first met the victim in September 2016, according to court documents. She'd run away from an abusive home, court documents said, and they picked her up at an area grocery store.
They took her back to the base and raped her, according to court records. He was sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison.
Beazer told the judge their relationship was meant "to try to help her out of this situation."
"I made mistakes," said Beazer, who had no criminal record before this arrest. "I didn't want to bring her to the authorities because I did not want to end up in this situation."
Follow Adam Duvernay on Twitter: @duvINdelaware