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Parents of Recruit Claim Army Made False Promises, Forged Documents

Parents of Recruit Claim Army Made False Promises, Forged Documents



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John Hollenhorst reporting The Army has launched an investigation into claims by the parents of a young soldier from Utah that recruiters used false promises and forged documents to enlist him.

The 17-year-old was recruited from a youth prison in Ogden.

Parents of Recruit Claim Army Made False Promises, Forged Documents

In a coincidence of timing, a Congressional report was released today detailing hundreds of complaints of recruiting irregularity and fraud.

In the Utah case, is it fraud or just a homesick kid who wants to come home?

To take the oath and join the military, a 17-year-old must have parental approval in writing. Steve Price of Brigham City was barely 17 when he enlisted last January. He was recruited while serving time at a youth prison in Ogden.

He's now a PFC at Ft. Stewart Georgia. He told us by phone, he believes his parents' approval signatures were forged.

Pfc.Steven Price: "I want out. Right now. It's all, it's all bull. It's all a game. It's terrible."

Staffers say they don't routinely bring in recruiters. But they did in this case because the boy asked for it and because they thought the army might be a good thing for him.

Counselors say the boy's divorced mother went hot and cold on the idea.

Levine Tupe, Youth Counselor: "Sometimes she was, and other times in our visits she wasn't in favor of him being deployed to the military."

Parents of Recruit Claim Army Made False Promises, Forged Documents

The parental consent form provided to us by the boy's mother, Lisa Jensen, has what purports to be her signature on January 10th. But she told us, "That's not my signature."

Counselors say she did sign, in the presence of an Army recruiter.

Levine Tupe, Youth Counselor: "I know she did, because we were all there in the same room."

But the boy and his mother say she actually signed a different form a month later when it was too late to say no.

Pfc. Steven Price: "That paper was signed after I'd already signed and enlisted into the military."

Parents of Recruit Claim Army Made False Promises, Forged Documents

The boy's divorced father apparently wasn't even at the signing, but his name is on the form too.

"I don't know if it's a big conspiracy," Dean Price told us. "But it is 100 percent fraudulent. That is not my signature."

John Hollenhorst "How do you explain the dad's signature being on here?"

Levine Tupe, Youth Counselor: "I have no idea. I can't explain that. Because, my recollection, he wasn't there."

The Army is appointing an outside officer to investigate.

Maj. George R. Bacon, U.S. Army Recruiting Battalion: "And that's what we're doing right now to basically ascertain the allegations if there was any wrongdoing. And that's where we are at this point."

P.F.C. Price says Army recruiters are using fraudulent tactics because enlistments are in short supply. For obvious reasons.

PFC Steven Price: "The war-time, sir. Nobody wants to go to war."

Price told us he initially did want to go in, but now he wants to come home. He says recruiters made false promises that he wouldn't have to join a combat unit until he was 18.

A veteran recruiter told us he would never make such a promise because once you're in, you're a soldier.

This Utah case comes during eye-opening results of a new investigation into military recruitment.

The Government Accountability Office said accusations of wrongdoing by US military recruiters-increased by 50 percent in the last year.

Criminal violations like falsifying documents and sexual harassment more than doubled. Most of the charges are against the Army. The report showed recruiters were under pressure to meet enlistment goals while the Iraq death toll rises and America's job market is competitive.

It also faulted the Defense Department for not establishing a way to report recruiting violations.

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