School counselor faces child exploitation charges

Police believe more victims could be out there

NEW CASTLE, Ind. - A school counselor is accused of child exploitation and faces federal charges, officials announced Monday.

Darrell Hughes, 55, of Muncie, worked with troubled teenage boys in his role at New Castle schools. Authorities said Hughes used his job to take advantage of several male students.

Federal officials said the long-time New Castle Middle School and New Castle High School counselor took several teens to his home over the last six years.

Officials said he secretly recorded the troubled teens.

"He allowed them to take showers at his home where it's alleged that he rigged an elaborate system of hidden cameras to capture their every move," U.S. Attorney Joe Hogsett said.

Federal officials believe Hughes began befriending the male students in 2008. Authorities said he bought  clothing, cigarettes and marijuana for five of the victims.

Police said he took photos of the teens and promised them he’d help them launch modeling careers.

Authorities said they found recording devices and memory cards containing pictures of nude minor boys in Hughes’ home.

"You just never think something like that's next door. If I knew it was next door I wish I could have stopped it earlier," neighbor Jeremiah Rupel said.

Hughes was arrested last week and is charged with one count of child exploitation and two counts of attempted exploitation.

Police said they were made aware of the allegations after one of the students came forward last month. Officials believe Hughes could have sexually assaulted one or more of the boys.

Authorities believe there could be other victims that haven't come forward.

New Castle Community School Superintendent Steve Fisher said Hughes has been suspended without pay.

Follow Chris Proffitt on Twitter: @chrisproffitt

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