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February 24, 2014

Former Frankton principal arrested on suspicion of child exploitation

FRANKTON, Ind. —

 A former principal of Frankton Jr.-Sr. High School faces child exploitation charges for allegedly exchanging inappropriate text messages with two female students while he was principal.

Jerry Hoss Jr., 43, of Anderson, was out of the Madison County Jail on $10,000 bail at 8 p.m. on Sunday, about an hour after he was booked on charges of child exploitation, official misconduct and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. The first two charges are felonies. Hoss was arrested by Madison County sheriff's deputies.

According to the probable cause affidavit of the allegations, Hoss' cellphone contained evidence he contacted the two students in 2013 and 2012 and made inappropriate requests. One of the students, a then 16-year-old, approached Frankton Chief of Police David Hoffman in August and reported that Hoss had sent her several text messages early in the morning on Aug. 4.

The text from Hoss' cellphone requested the teenager send him a "selfie" — a self-taken photograph — and to delete the messages from him after she read them. She reported to police that she believed Hoss was asking for a nude photograph. She said she got Hoss' number in June when he gave her a ride to a friend's house.

The girl also told detectives that she knew Hoss had been accused of similar inappropriate conduct with a different student in the previous school year. In June, Hoss' contract as principal was terminated by the Frankton-Lapel Community Schools board. The board declined to discuss the specifics of why Hoss was fired, but open comments from those in attendance made it clear there was an investigation of text messages Hoss had sent to a female student earlier in the year.

Detectives examined Hoss' cellphone, confirmed the messages the girl had described and found half-naked pictures of Hoss that had been sent to the girl's number. Detectives also found messages Hoss sent to another teen, a then 17-year-old, on Nov. 2, 2012, when the girl was a senior at the high school.

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