FISHERS, Ind. – A former Fishers Christian Academy teacher is facing several felony charges after he was accused of child solicitation and sexual misconduct with a 15-year-old student.
Days before his arrest, 34-year-old Stephen Ayon was confronted outside of his church by individuals calling themselves “predator hunters” accusing him of pursuing other minors online.
Court documents claim Fishers Police received an anonymous tip that Ayon behaved inappropriately with female students. Detectives first asked Ayon about accusations that he pursued 13-year-olds over messaging apps. They say Ayon called his online conversations with minors a “curiosity.”
Detectives say they became aware of two separate, past allegations involving his inappropriate behavior – one in Fishers, one in California. According to a probable cause affidavit, he confessed to having a relationship with the 15-year-old student for at least a year. The document states she completed a forensic interview saying Ayon, her teacher at the time, forced her to touch him. In the interview, she said she was scared to tell anyone about it.
On Sept. 24, Ayon was confronted outside Fishers Baptist Church by individuals who call themselves “predator hunters,” with “PredHunters Indiana” and “Creeps Spotlight.” In a live stream, they told Ayon they had evidence that he planned to meet up with a decoy posing as a 14-year-old – which he denied.
“I did nothing illegal last night,” Ayon is heard saying in the video.
“You didn’t want to have sex with a little girl?” a man who identifies himself as “FM” with Creeps Spotlight responds.
“Absolutely not,” Ayon said.
In an interview with FOX59/CBS4, the woman who recorded the video, a representative from PredHunters Indiana, asked to remain anonymous.
“Stephen contacted our decoy,” she said. “We explained to him, ‘Hey, I’m 14, I’m a child.’ He was okay with that.”
The two groups say their purpose is to catch adults interacting inappropriately with minors online. They say they wait for decoys to be approached; they do not message first.
“It’s a harsh reality that’s out there. You just don’t know what they look like,” she said. “There’s no look to this. You can’t look at someone and see it. They’re everywhere.”
The PredHunters Indiana representative said the interactions between Ayon and the decoy took place over an app called “Whisper.” She said she couldn’t go into detail about the messages, but said Ayon expressed interest in engaging sexually with the decoy, going so far as to take a photo in his car to indicate he would pick her up in Anderson the night before the confrontation.
The representative said the messages were handed over to investigators to be used as evidence. Ayon later told detectives, according to the affidavit, that he backed out because he knew he “was completely wrong.”
The representative also said it was devastating to hear about the 15-year-old victim.
“It breaks your heart to know that there are real victims because that’s what we’re trying to stop,” she said. “Looking at it today, the courage and the strength that they showed by coming forward is out of this world.”
The affidavit says Ayon mentioned the church noticed he had some kind of inappropriate relationship with the victim, and “told him to stop approximately two years ago.”
In a statement, the Fishers Christian Academy administration said they are aware of the situation and cooperating with law enforcement but they have no further comments. Ayon was fired on Sept. 26, two days after the confrontation.
We are aware of the situation and are fully cooperating with law enforcement. He was terminated from employment on September 26. We have no further comments at this time.Fishers Christian Academy administration
Hamilton County Chief Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Joshua Kocher said he is not able to comment on the details of this case as it is a pending matter, but provided a brief statement.
I would like to say how thankful I am for the hard work performed on this case from the Detectives assigned to the Hamilton County Metro Child Exploitation Task Force. We are very fortunate to have such dedicated law enforcement officers who work tirelessly to keep our children safe.Chief Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Joshua Kocher