The Presidio Child Molestation Case 16

The Presidio Child Molestation Case.

In 1987 allegations of child sex abuse surfaced at the daycare center of the Presidio of San Francisco involving 60 children, some infants. Upon physical examination, four children were diagnosed with chlamydia, a sexually transmitted disease. 

Other children exhibited vaginal discharges, genital soreness, rashes, and psychological symptoms like sleep disturbances, nightmares, and bizarrely inappropriate sexual behavior. 

Military police and CID (Criminal Investigation Command) investigated Army Lieutenant Colonel (LTC) Michael Aquino, a member of Anton LaVey’s Church of Satan between 1967 and 1975, who then founded the the Temple of Set, another Satanic organization. 


Michael Aquino and Lilith.

Officials seized thousands of photographs and videos in a search of his residence, logging and photographing “weapons, masks and ceremonial items.” 

In 1987, LTC Aquino appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show and explained his Satanic philosophy, saying that Satanists “are not servants of some God; we are our own gods; we are our own decision makers. And people naturally fear this.” He concluded saying that the beliefs of his followers were “most closely aligned to that of Plato.”



In September of 1987, a pair of fires destroyed all records and the daycare center itself. ATF investigators determined that the cause was arson. 

The same month, Mr. Gary Willard Hambright, 34, an employee of the daycare center, was indicted on 10 counts of lewd and lascivious conduct on a child and 2 counts of oral copulation. 

The New York Times reported that “An assistant United States attorney, Peter Robison, said Mr. Hambright was charged with molesting only 10 children because other victims were so young they would not be allowed to testify in court.” 

A Presidio spokesman, Mr. Bob Mahoney, said that “more than 70 children had been interviewed by Army therapists as potential abuse victims. Parents have said as many as 60 children were molested at the center.” 

The Times article states that an Army review team conducted an investigation of nearly 300 child care centers run by the Army, caring for an estimated 94,000 children daily.

“Allegations of sexual abuse have surfaced at more than 10 percent of those centers since 1984. Among them are the centers at Fort Dix in Jew Jersey and the United States Military Academy at West Point.

Despite evidence of child anal abuse, no charges alleging sodomy were filed. Other medical examinations of the children revealed missing hymens and rectal lesions. 

The case against Mr. Hambright was eventually dismissed on numerous technicalities. He ultimately died from AIDS.

An aide to Senator Jesse Helms filed a complaint with the US Army in 1988, complaining about LTC Aquino’s appearance on an episode of the Geraldo Rivera Show about “Satanism and witchcraft.” 



The San Francisco Police Department ended its investigation of LTC Aquino for lack of sufficient evidence. US Army CID continued its investigation until 1989, when it also concluded its investigation due to a failure of suspects and other involved adults to cooperate, and the expiration of the 3 year statute of limitations. 


Michael Aquino was a Reserve Lieutenant Colonel in the US Army. 

LTC Aquino in the end escaped prosecution, though a continuation board of the Army Reserve recommended his discharge. He was processed out of the Army in 1990. 

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