Local man pleads guilty to sex crime

INDIANAPOLIS — A New Palestine man will spend three years on probation after he admitted to having a sexual relationship with a teenage girl at the Indianapolis high school where he worked.

Troy Rush, 43, pleaded guilty this week to one count of dissemination of matter harmful to minors as a Class D felony, court records show. A Marion County judge sentenced him to probation Tuesday.

Rush was the Marine Corps Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps instructor at Warren Central in Indianapolis, and the victim was a member of the program, which is designed to teach teens about military life, court records state.

The girl told school administrators she and Rush met for sex regularly during school hours and often on school grounds, according to court documents. They also exchanged inappropriate text and social media messages, court documents state.

Last summer, Rush was charged in Marion County Superior Court — Criminal Division 1, where he faced 11 felony child seduction charges.

The original charges were dropped as part of a plea agreement with prosecutors in which Rush pleaded guilty to the dissemination of matter harmful to minors charge, court records show.

Rush was sentenced to spend three years on sex-offender probation as punishment, said Peg McLeish, a spokeswoman for the Marion County Prosecutors Office.

Students at Warren Central called Rush “captain” because of his leadership role in the school’s JROTC program, court documents state.

The victim told investigators she and Rush began a physical relationship in November 2013 when she was 16 years old, and the relationship continued until she graduated last June, court documents state.

The victim told police she and Rush met regularly for sex at the school, including inside the JROTC supply closet, Rush’s office and the wrestling room, court documents state.

The girl said she and Rush also sent naked photos to each other, and Rush would regularly remind her to delete the messages and photographs they exchanged, court documents state.

Warren Central High School administrators launched an investigation after the girl came forward and immediately informed Indianapolis Metropolitan Police about the allegations, school officials said.

Rush resigned from his position after he became aware of the investigation, school officials said.

The girl also told police she heard rumors about Rush having inappropriate relationships with other female students, court documents state. Police interviewed six other girls during the investigation; many said Rush made sexual comments or advances toward them, court records state.

Rush’s attorney, Edward Merchant of Indianapolis, could not be reached for comment.

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Caitlin VanOverberghe is a reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. She can be reached at 317-477-3237 or cvanoverberghe@greenfieldreporter.com.