Indianapolis News and HeadlinesIndianapolis Local NewsIndianapolis Crime News


11 arrested in child-sex sting operation in Johnson County

johnson county sheriffs office.PNG
Posted at 10:18 AM, May 16, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-16 19:38:44-04

FRANKLIN — A joint child-sex sting operation in Johnson County resulted in the arrests of 11 people, including some who traveled to meet someone they thought was a minor.

Sheriff Duane Burgess tells WRTV the three-day operation took months of planning. This was the third sting in the last three years.

Burgess said detectives set up fake profiles on certain sexual social media apps and websites pretending to be a 14-year-old minor. Adults would begin messaging the account and have sexual conversations with the detectives pretending to be a minor.

"It doesn't matter who the person is or what type of career they have, they're willing to meet sometimes with a 14 year old," Burgess said.

The 11 men were arrested last week in seven different Central Indiana cities. They range in age from 19-49 years old.

11 men were arrested in May 2022 after a child solicitation sting led by the Johnson County Sheriff's Office.

Detectives say the suspects were willing to travel anywhere from 7 minutes to over 2 hours to meet with the person they thought was a minor.

"We've taken these individuals off the streets. Some have bonded [out of jail], but it helps us identify these folks, these folks that are willing to do something to go have sex with a 14 year old," Burgess said in an interview with WRTV. "It sickens your stomach to know that these individuals exist and that they will show up or attempt to do something like this with a child."

Sometimes they would bring things like alcohol, condoms and drugs to peak the minor's interest, Burgess said.

"Johnson County law enforcement continues to conduct these types of details because of the link these activities can have to the greater issue of human trafficking," Burgess said. "Children come up missing daily in the United States, and these kinds of encounters can play a part in that."

He noted none of the people arrested in the local sting are believed to have any connection to a human trafficking operation.

He also said parents need to be vigilant in reviewing sites and apps their children are on.

"We cannot be our child’s best friend all of the time," he said. "You must be diligent in this process in order to protect them from the evil that exist on these sites and social media."

Burgess says the operations will continue. The sheriff's office worked with Franklin Police and the the Marion County Sheriff’s Office on the sting.