INDIANAPOLIS — An employee of the American Legion was one of 11 men arrested in a child-sex sting operation in Johnson County last week, the organization said Tuesday.
Jeff L. Hendricks of Unionville, the deputy director of the Americanism Division for the American Legion, was placed on administrative leave and later terminated after he was named as a suspect in the case, according to Kimberly Meesters, director of the organization's National Marketing Division.
"The seriousness of these allegations cannot be overstated," Meesters said in a written statement."We will fully support the investigation and judicial process as it moves forward. In support of those efforts, we cannot provide further comment at this time.”
Hendrick's LinkedIn profile says he has worked for the American Legion since February 2018 managing programs that "serve over a million youths nationwide."
The Legion's Americanism division is responsible for promoting the American lifestyle through youth activities, community service and other means. It consists of committees on children and youth, youth education, American Legion baseball and youth cadet law enforcement.
Hendricks communicated with an undercover decoy posing as a 14-year-old and made plans to meet her at a Greenwood gas station, according to a probable cause affidavit.
At one point he told the decoy he would teach them about sex and said he had "helped girls bring them to life no matter how twisted or perverted," the affidavit alleges.
Johnson County Sheriff Duane Burgess told WRTV the three-day sting operation resulting in Hendricks and 10 other peoples' arrests 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.
The 11 suspects were arrested in seven different Central Indiana cities. They range in age from 19-49 years old.