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Former school counselor sentenced for child exploitation

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) – A former New Castle school counselor accused of sexually exploiting teenage boys has been sentenced to nearly 22 years in prison.

The (Muncie) Star Press reports 57-year-old Darrell Hughes of Muncie formally pleaded guilty in federal court Tuesday to three counts of sexual exploitation of a child. A judge imposed a 262-month sentence.

Hughes, who was arrested in 2014, was accused of giving boys marijuana, alcohol and money and taking nude photographs of them using hidden cameras at his home. Assistant U.S. Attorney Steve DeBrota called it a “long-standing grooming” of victims.

DeBrota had recommended a 25-year sentence, while public defender William Dazey suggested a minimum sentence of 15 years, saying his client had helped other students he didn’t target for exploitation.

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