An Ohio police academy dropout is headed to prison after pleading guilty to charges stemming from a “Scared Straight” program gone awry.
Christopher Hendon was a troubled youth who turned his life around but was forced to withdraw from a police academy after a questionable “Soulja Boy Challenge” video he filmed resurfaced, the Akron Beacon Journal reported.
After landing a job as a security guard, Hendon shared a Facebook post offering Scared Straight-style interventions for youth who got into trouble and needed a second chance. The post quickly garnered over 200 responses form parents seeking help.
His efforts have landed him on the wrong side of the law, however. Hendon was sentenced to six years in prison last week after pleading guilty to 31 charges, including impersonating a police officer and kidnapping.
Prosecutors said he tricked parents and officials into believing he was an officer and used the scheme to gain access to troubled youth. Authorities said he subjected the children to both physical and verbal abuse. Some were handcuffed while other were slammed against lockers, desks and even the floor.
“You like to fight?” he asked one boy, according to the Beacon Journal story. “I’ll take you somewhere where fighters go.” Hendon then took the child to a juvenile detention center where he showed him a holding cell.
Hendon would hold 30-40 of these interventions in all, often wearing his security guard uniform and carrying a weapon. He said many of the parents knew he was not a cop but aspired to be one. He has denied ever hurting any of the children.
“As I see it, I was trying to help some troubled kids,” Hendon, 26, said during a recent exclusive interview with the newspaper. “… Why would I want to harm someone I was trying to help?”