The Army command overseeing much of the service’s special operations units is investigating how leaders handled past allegations of sexual misconduct against a senior noncommissioned officer who was recently charged with child sex crimes, Army Times has learned.
Civilian authorities in North Carolina have charged psychological operations Master Sgt. Joshua Glardon with one count of first degree statutory rape and 15 counts of felony second degree sexual exploitation of a child.
The NCO was arrested on Sept. 9 and transferred to the Cumberland County Jail on Sept. 15, according to jail records.
At the time of his arrest, Glardon was assigned as an ROTC instructor at Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina. He had been with the ROTC unit since April.
Glardon is currently being held in the Cumberland County Jail on a $1.1 million bond.
According to court records obtained by the Fayetteville Observer, investigators first scrutinized Glardon in April after the N.C. State Bureau of Investigation determined child pornography was being accessed from his home.
Glardon purportedly distributed at least 15 photographs depicting sexual assaults of young girls between December 2020 and July 2021, the Fayetteville Observer reported.
The senior NCO’s mistress also allegedly sent photos and included her underage daughter in a sexual encounter with Glardon, leading him to commit “a sex offense” against the girl, according to the Fayetteville Observer. She too was arrested and charged.
In his previous assignment as first sergeant of Bravo Company, 1st Psychological Operations Battalion, Glardon came under multiple investigations for alleged counterproductive leadership and sexual harassment, said Maj. Dan Lessard, a spokesperson for 1st Special Forces Command.
Social media rumors about Glardon’s past fueled speculation that PSYOP leaders may have mishandled sexual harassment allegations against the NCO.
Army Times could not independently verify these claims — multiple former PSYOP colleagues and supervisors declined to speak about Glardon’s conduct when reached by Army Times.
Each of the investigations into Glardon’s conduct as first sergeant failed to substantiate the allegations made against him, Lessard told Army Times.
“In January 2020, Master Sgt. Joshua Glardon was temporarily suspended from his First Sergeant duties during an investigation into allegations of counterproductive leadership,” said Lessard, the 1st SFC spokesperson. “While the investigation resulted in unsubstantiated allegations, Master Sgt. Glardon received a letter of concern to address his leadership approach.”
Soon after he was reinstated, Glardon was accused of sending sexually explicit photographs to the spouse of another soldier, Lessard said. The investigation, which took place in August 2020, “uncovered no evidence to support this allegation,” the spokesperson said.
Lessard also said the command will “fully cooperate with the civilian investigation” and has initiated its own investigation into “the entirety of Master Sgt. Glardon’s time as a First Sergeant to review the actions taken in response to any allegations made against him.”
A soldier with direct knowledge of the allegations told Army Times that leadership had not considered direct evidence of the images, and welcomed the follow-up investigation.
A Cadet Command spokesperson said Glardon has been removed from his position. The NCO directly supervised cadets as recently as July during Cadet Summer Training at Fort Knox, Kentucky, according to a source with knowledge of Glardon’s assignments.
“Our leadership is aware of the current civilian investigation being conducted by local law enforcement into the allegations against MSG Joshua Glardon,” said Lt. Col. Nichole Downs, a Cadet Command spokesperson.
“He has been removed from his position and the command will take further appropriate action based on the findings of any investigation in coordination with local authorities,” Downs added. “We cannot make any further comments at this time, as it wouldn’t be appropriate for the command to comment on an ongoing criminal investigation.”
Davis Winkie is a staff reporter covering the Army. He originally joined Military Times as a reporting intern in 2020. Before journalism, Davis worked as a military historian. He is also a human resources officer in the Army National Guard.