Porter County Sheriff's Department

What's Happening at The Porter County Sheriff's Department


Porter County Sheriff Sex Sting Operation

The United States Attorney's Office announced today that a press conference will be held on Tuesday, Aug. 22nd, at 2:30 p.m. at the Porter County Sheriff's Dept., 2755 SR 49, Valparaiso, IN.  The press conference will announce an extensive internet predator undercover operation that resulted in 24 federal arrests over this past weekend.



24 arrested in Web sex sting

Aug. 22, 2006 By Danielle Braff / Post-Tribune staff writer

An extensive undercover Internet predator investigation netted 24 arrests over the weekend and on Monday, federal officials announced Monday.  The U.S. Attorney’s office will reveal details of the case today at the Porter County Sheriff’s Department in Valparaiso. The case was wide ranging, and Indiana officials have said the Secret Service was involved in the investigation.  A source close to the investigation said federal authorities were continuing to make arrests, but asked county police not to release any information to the media. State law calls for police to release arrest information within a 24-hour period.  Special Agent Wendy Osborne of the Indianapolis FBI office said Internet predators are becoming an increasing problem because there are more people online and therefore more people using the Internet for fraud or to prey on children.   “We are remaining vigilant and warning people to know who their children are talking to online,” Osborne said.   Federal investigators have pursued numerous child pornography cases this year, focusing on men who distributed child porn online or those who traveled from one state to another in order to have sex with underage children.   The most recent case involved a Porter County man who was arrested in Alaska in connection with sexual assault and child pornography. Lee E. Dipert, 50, of Valparaiso was arrested in connection with the abuse of a 14-year-old boy.  Other men have been charged with crossing state lines with the intention of having sex with someone underage.  In June, Glen Nuttall, 42, of Gary, was sentenced to 7 1/2 years for traveling from Indiana to Illinois to have sex with a girl he believed to be 14.   Hundreds of images and videos of child pornography were found on a St. John man’s computer in June. Louis Hopkins Jr.’s computers were seized after Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents discovered files Hopkins allegedly sent of children and infants. Every state has an online sex offender registry that is free to use, and offers the public the opportunity to see which sex offenders live in their neighborhood. The town that boasts the largest number of registered sex offenders is Gary, with 151. East Chicago is next with 128, followed by Hobart with 96. Lowell has seven offenders, Chesterton has 17 and Valparaiso 26, according to the sex offender registry.  One of the Lowell offenders is 49-year-old Tony Thorn, who drove to LaPorte to have sex with a boy he met on the Internet. The 13-year-old boy turned out to be a police officer, who arrested him two years ago. He was one of a dozen men arrested since 2002 in a thorough LaPorte police investigation which found predators who traveled to Northwest Indiana from Ohio and Fort Wayne.

NWI men among 24 nabbed in sex sting

CRIMINAL JUSTICE: Feds say Valpo man claimed to be Andrean basketball coach

 This story ran on nwitimes.com on Tuesday, August 22, 2006

One of more than a dozen suspects arrested in a weekend Internet sex sting claimed during an online conversation with an undercover federal agent that he coached basketball at Andrean High School in Merrillville, federal court documents allege.  That suspect, identified in court documents as Matthew Hensley, of Valparaiso, is charged with attempting to persuade, induce, entice and coerce for sex undercover federal agents posing as a 13-year-old girl on the Internet. Hensley was one of at least 14 men who made an initial appearance Monday in Hammond federal court as part of a sting that the U.S. attorney in Hammond is calling an extensive Internet-predator undercover operation that resulted in 24 arrests during this past weekend.  The 14 men, who claimed to range in age from 22 to 47, appeared Monday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Andrew Rodovich. They are expected to have detention hearings this week to determine whether they should remain in custody pending the outcomes of their cases.
The men hailed from a wide swath of Indiana towns, including some from Lake and Porter counties and others from as far south as Indianapolis. A news conference is scheduled for this afternoon at the Porter County Sheriff’s Department to discuss the results of the weekend sting.  In a federal affidavit pertaining to Hensley's charge, U.S. Secret Service Special Agent William McKenna filed excerpts of Internet chats the agent alleges took place Aug. 7 and 9.  In the Aug. 7 transcript, a federal agent posing as a 13-year-old girl with the online screen name jen_indy_13, has a conversation with mattymac99, the screen name federal authorities say Hensley used. In that conversation, mattymac99 indicates he has just graduated from Valparaiso University, is a basketball coach at Andrean with aspirations of coaching college basketball and wants to have sex with the 13-year-old girl, the federal affidavit states.  The two talk about possibly having a telephone conversation and meeting at a park, with mattymac99 providing a telephone number with a 219 area code, the federal affidavit states. A Times call to that phone number Monday led to a voicemail message asking for messages to be left for Matt Hensley.  On Aug. 9, jen_indy_13 and mattymac99 again chatted online, with mattymac99 instructing the would-be 13-year-old on how sex is performed and promising to be gentle when the two eventually meet, the federal affidavit states. Andrean women's basketball head coach Ken Markfull said a Matt Hensley served as assistant coach of the varsity and junior varsity ladies' teams last school year and that Hensley had recently graduated from Valparaiso University. He said he had received no information Monday about any federal charges being brought against Hensley.  "He was a good coach," Markfull said of his experience with Hensley. "His conduct was exemplary."  The Times also placed a call Monday to the Valparaiso address listed on court documents as at that of Matthew Hensley, who faces the federal charge. A person who answered the phone declined any comment on the matter. Ihor Alexander Woloshansky, listed on court documents as Hensley's defense attorney, also declined to comment on the matter Monday.  In the federal affidavit, McKenna states that the photo that appears on the federally charged Matthew Hensley's driver's license was compared to a photo that was sent to the agent by mattymac99. McKenna states that those photos appear to be of the same person.

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