** Content warning: This article deals with sensitive subject matter. Please read with discretion. **
MEDINA, Ohio (WJW) — A Medina High School teacher put on leave amid a federal child sex abuse investigation has been arrested, accused of attempting to entice a minor for sex and possessing child pornography.
A criminal affidavit for Kevin L. Hedrick, 37, of New Franklin, alleges the social studies teacher had multiple explicit conversations with an undercover officer via the Kik messaging app while at school and using the school’s internet connection in October.
That undercover officer posed as the mother of a 14-year-old girl. Chat logs included in the affidavit appear to show Hedrick identifying himself as a high school teacher in Ohio and talking about having sex with the girl.
After executing a federal search warrant, investigators found 1,000 images and videos containing child sexual abuse or exploitation on his Kik account, including dozens of images he shared with other users, according to the affidavit.
Soon after, he was placed on administrative leave from the district due to the active federal investigation. Days after that, federal investigators interviewed Hedrick and he admitted to talking with the officer, whom he believed was a woman.
An investigation of Hedrick’s phone found he had used the Kik app 60 times.
Kik is a peer-to-peer social media platform often used to distribute or receive child pornography and for engaging in human trafficking, investigators noted in the affidavit.
“Hedrick stated that he would install the Kik application on his phone, use it and then delete it. He would continually proceed in this fashion because he did not want his wife to find out about his conversations on Kik,” the affidavit reads. “Hedrick stated that he also conducted this deleting behavior because he knew it was wrong.”
The district sent an email to parents on Monday reminding parents about the dangers in online chat rooms and offering links to the FBI’s Safe Online Surfing program and a list of resources for educating kids on online safety. That email reads, in part:
At this time, the District anticipates a formal resignation from Mr. Hedrick. If we do not receive a resignation, we will take the appropriate action to move toward termination.
We understand charges of this nature are distressing especially in a school environment involving an educator. We are relieved to know this situation did not directly impact current Medina City School District students or staff. We are thankful for the diligence and collaboration of the FBI, local police and district administration to ensure our students and staff remain safe from predators.
We do not have any additional information at this time and will share with you should any become available. It is important to note that this is no longer a school matter but is under the direction of the FBI, Prosecuting Attorney and Federal Courts.
We remind everyone about online dangers, including chat rooms and messaging apps. The FBI has free helpful age and grade appropriate activities and resources for students and educators to learn how to surf safely and be more aware when online.Aaron Sable, Medina City Schools Superintendent
Hedrick’s attorney, Don Malarcik of Akron, on Monday said Hedrick pleaded not guilty in federal court Monday, and that he already submitted his resignation to the school district, effective Friday, Jan. 6. Malarcik did not make any additional comment on the case.
Hedrick’s case is bound to a federal grand jury for possible indictment.
A detention hearing is set for Friday, Jan. 13.