The Johnson County Sheriff’s Office, Franklin Police Department, Morgan County Sheriff’s Office, Martinsville Police Department, and the Johnson County Prosecutor’s Office conducted a joint child solicitation operation entitled Operation Guardian.
Operation Guardian was similar to a child solicitation sting conducted in December, 2020.
Operation Guardian took place in the City of Franklin where detectives posed online as a child under the age of 14. During chat room conversations, several adult men solicited sex and arranged to meet with a detective they believed to be that underage child. These men were among many others waiting in online chat rooms to prey on and solicit sex from children. There were even warnings from other individuals in these chat rooms that law enforcement frequently posed as children, but these men still solicited sex despite those warnings. When the suspects appeared at the agreed-upon location to meet with the undercover detectives, they were arrested and transported to the Johnson County Jail.
These arrests were a team effort by all agencies involved and were the result of several days of hard work and cooperation by detectives committed to locking up these types of predators. All arrests will now be reviewed by the Johnson County Prosecutor’s Office for formal charges and prosecution. Numerous charges are alleged including child solicitation, disseminating obscene / pornographic material to a minor, possession of methamphetamine, dealing in methamphetamine, resisting law enforcement, and driving while suspended.
Eight arrests were made in the operation including men from Greenwood, Franklin, Indianapolis, Bloomington, Nashville, Zionsville and Pendleton. The ages of the men ranged from 24-60.
It is the continuing goal of Johnson County Sheriff Duane Burgess, Franklin Police Chief Kirby Cochran, Martinsville Police Chief John Richards, and Morgan County Sheriff Richard Myers to protect the children in our communities and surrounding areas. Law enforcement cannot eliminate this problem alone. Parents and guardians need to have an active role in their children’s lives to ensure they are aware of what they are doing on the internet.
Parents should keep an eye on what sites their children are visiting and who they are talking to in chats, games, and social media. This is an ongoing situation where children are regularly being targeted and seduced by predators to engage in sexual conduct. Please speak to your children about this issue and help eliminate these threats.