Man charged with sexual misconduct with minor

Local prosecutors charged a Henry County man police said had an eight-month inappropriate relationship with a Bargersville minor.

Braeden Gage Blanchard, 20, of Lewisville, Ind., is charged with sexual misconduct with a minor, a Level 5 felony. If convicted, he could face up to six years in prison.

Bargersville police were called to the victim’s home in August after a relative reported sexual misconduct between the victim and Blanchard. The woman told police the victim and Blanchard had been dating on-and-off for several months, and they were under the impression he was 16. They later found information indicating he was older than 18, according to a probable cause affidavit filed in Johnson County Circuit Court.

The relative told police they had no reason to doubt Blanchard was 16, and said he had been to their home on several occasions. Later, relative learned the victim had snuck Blanchard into their home and a neighbor’s home a few times and had sex with him, according to court documents.

The relative asked the victim to cut off ties with Blanchard and not contact him. Later, the victim told the relative Blanchard had threatened to shoot her kneecaps if she tried to break up with him, and sent her a photo of him holding a rifle, court documents show.

The relative ran Blanchard’s name through online court records and discovered a criminal case involving him in Hancock County, which led them to believe he was at least 18 while the victim was 14, according to court documents.

When police spoke with the victim, she said they had met last January on a social messaging app. During a later conversation, Blanchard asked the victim her age, and told her he had been telling people she was 17 because “he wanted her to be older than she was.” The victim said she had been suspicious of Blanchard’s age but believed he was 16, court documents show.

Blanchard told the victim he was 16, and had shown her a school schedule saying he was a junior in high school. When the victim later found out about Blanchard’s real age, she confronted him. He told her he was afraid she wouldn’t be with him if she knew his age, she said.

Blanchard had sex with the victim five times. Police later searched the victim’s phone and found photos of Blanchard — both clothed and nude — court documents show.

Police spoke with Blanchard in September in Lewisville, Ind., and he confirmed he had communicated with the victim via social media and had sex with her, but said he was told the victim was a different age, according to court documents.

Police arrested Blanchard on a warrant Tuesday. He was taken to the Johnson County jail where he was held on $600 bond.