IFD firefighter, 20 others arrested in Johnson County child solicitation sting | #childpredator | #kidsaftey | #childsaftey

JOHNSON COUNTY — 21 people have been arrested following a three-day child solicitation sting operation in Johnson County, including a firefighter with the Indianapolis Fire Department.

“It’s sad to know that these people, for some type of sexual gratification, will meet a minor,” said Johnson County Sheriff Duane Burgess. “I think about my nieces and my nephews. These individuals are preying on these kids.”

The sting happened on the 300 block of East Countyline Road in Greenwood between Nov. 28 and Nov. 30.

The suspects thought they were meeting a 14-year-old or 15-year-old child for sex, but were arrested as soon as they opened the door.

Undercover detectives messaged the suspects through social media for months before the day of the arrests. Burgess said one suspect drove from more than a hundred miles away in pursuit of sex.

“The conversations that those people have with our law enforcement people…it does more than turn your stomach.”

Johnson County detectives received assistance from several other agencies, including the United States Secret Service, in carrying out the operation.

The Indianapolis Fire Department confirmed an active firefighter with 17 years of service was arrested in the sting. The firefighter has not been formally charged.

IFD suspended the suspect indefinitely without pay pending the outcome of the legal process.

The Johnson County Sheriff’s Office started organizing child sexual predator stings in 2019. It has now carried out six operations and arrested more than a hundred suspects from all across the state.

The most recent child solicitation sting this April ensnared 32 suspects.

Burgess said the most important step parents can take to protect their children from predators is to monitor their smartphone.

“Limit access to your kids and get back to talking to one another,” Burgess said. “Know what they’re doing and look at their phones. It’s your phone, they’re probably not paying the bill.”

While Burgess celebrated the arrest of the 21 suspects in this week’s sting, he said the work to stop Indiana’s child predators is not done.

“It will continue,” Burgess said. “We have some upcoming spin-offs from this and some more people will be incarcerated.”

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