Ingalls, Indiana fire chief faces federal child exploitation charges
Alleged to have had a sexual relationship with a 17 year old female under his supervision
Indianapolis-United States Attorney Josh Minkler announced today that the former Fire Chief of Ingalls, Indiana has been charged with sexual exploitation of a child. Brian Cushman, 29, Ingalls, had his initial appearance in federal court last week and was released on GPS monitoring today.
“This office will not tolerate the sexual abuse of our children by those who are supposed to lead our children from positions of trust,” said Minkler. “Giving a child a learning opportunity, career guidance, or athletic training should not come at a cost of a child’s innocence.”
Indiana State Police received information from the Madison County Prosecutor’s Office that there were allegations of underage alcohol consumption and sexual misconduct at Cushman’s residence in Ingalls during a time when Cushman was the fire chief of the Ingalls Fire Department.
After interviewing several witnesses and victims, law enforcement officials determined that Cushman allegedly provided alcohol to Minor Victim 1 and another child. Police also learned that Cushman had sexual contact with Minor Victim 1 in the course of his employment with the Fire Department. Search warrants were obtained for Cushman’s residence and cell phone. Forensic examiners discovered sexually explicit images of Minor Victim 1 and Cushman on his cell phone dating back to January 2018.
This case was investigated by the FBI and the Indiana State Police.
“The sexual victimization of a child is a heinous crime,” said Indiana State Police Superintendent Doug Carter. “And in this particular case, it’s even worse the crime is alleged to have been committed by a public safety official that we encourage our youth to seek out when they need help.” Carter concluded, “I’m grateful to the dedicated state police forensic computer experts that were able to aid in the recovery of evidence of the alleged crimes.”
According to Assistant United States Attorney Kristina M. Korobov who is prosecuting this case for the government, Cushman could face up to 30 years imprisonment if convicted.
A criminal complaint is only a charge and not evidence of guilt. A defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial at which the government must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
In October 2017, United States Attorney Josh J. Minkler announced a Strategic Plan designed to shape and strengthen the District’s response to its most significant public safety challenges. This prosecution demonstrates the Office’s firm commitment to prosecuting those who exploit or harm children and to work closely with Project Safe Childhood. See United States Attorney’s Office, Southern District of Indiana Strategic Plan 4.1.