Darrell Hughes, 55, Muncie, faces a count of sexual exploitation and two counts of attempting to sexually exploit a minor. The charges follow a joint federal-local investigation involving the U.S. Attorney’s Office and its Operation Community Watch. The charges were outlined Monday by U.S. Attorney Joe Hogsett during a news conference in Delaware County.
One victim, Fox 59 identified as Rocky, believes he may be Hughes’ first victim. His story dates back to 20 years ago.
“When I saw it on the news, it just blew my mind,” said Rocky. “I just can’t believe all of this is finally coming out.”
At the age of 15, Rocky was placed in the New Castle Alternative School where he was assigned to Hughes, a counselor at a local mental health facility at the time. Rocky, already a victim of child abuse, quickly developed a friendship with Hughes during his visits.
“He’d buy me cigarettes and wine coolers a couple of times. As a kid, I thought he was the coolest person I knew,” Rocky said. “He told me I had a certain attraction about me. He thought I should pursue a modeling career.”
The two met at a park one day. Rocky said Hughes snapped some pictures of him half naked. Later that day, Hughes made a move.
“I could tell he was searching for a blanket, or had to move the table around. As I look back, I could tell that was the first time he had probably done that,” said Rocky. ”He offered me alcohol. I drank some and then he started trying to massage me.”
It’s a similar story to what five male victims have accused Hughes of doing. According to the criminal complaint, they had interactions with Hughes dating back to 2008. All of the males struggled with disciplinary issues at school and some spent time in the state’s juvenile justice system. They came into contact with Hughes, who served as a middle and high school counselor for the New Castle alternative school commonly referred to as “North Campus.”