GREENWOOD, Ind. — Victims of alleged sexual abuse by an employee at a Greenwood therapy center were carefully selected to avoid suspicion, a recent confession to police reportedly revealed. Furthermore, one of the reasons the suspect said he took the job was to prey on children.
A document filed in the Johnson County Circuit and Superior Courts show Leomeir Kennedy, identified as a transgender man in the document, confessed to molesting three children under his care — including two patients at a therapy center for children with autism.
Kennedy’s cell phone and laptop were turned in to Greenwood police on April 10 after he had given it to a colleague. The next day, Kennedy came to the police station to give his testimony.
A probable cause affidavit stated Kennedy admitted to molesting a child while babysitting in October of 2017. He claimed it happened once while changing the child’s diaper.
Investigators were then told that Kennedy moved out of Indiana until about one year ago. He soon began working at Hopebridge Autism Therapy Center in Greenwood, a center that specializes in children.
Kennedy said he wanted to work there because he considered it a “victim pool,” court documents state. He also claimed he thought he “could really help children with autism grow.” He was licensed as a behavior technician, online records show.
FOX59/CBS4 spoke with the mother of one survivor, who wishes to remain anonymous and will be referred to as Jane. She said she started noticing changes in her nonverbal child’s behavior in late January.
“More temper tantrums, more aggression, and self-injuries,” Jane said. “A lot more.”
“They can’t talk to us. They depend on them and us. For someone who we have to trust and they have to trust to do something like this is sickening. It’s terrible.”
In order to avoid suspicion, Kennedy admitted to only preying on children who were not clients assigned to him. He told investigators he would molest children that he would take care of while their usual caregivers were on their lunch break.
The suspect gained access to two children using that tactic, according to the affidavit. Investigators said Kennedy admitted to molesting one child during a diaper change and another child while tickling them. Court documents show Kennedy said one of the children had “lust” in their eyes and described it as feeling like “Christmas” when he touched the child.
Jane said she is already very involved in her child’s schooling but she wants to get even more involved moving forward.
“Do a little bit more research on the next school that I send him. I will definitely watch for more behavior changes and key signs I missed this time that I will know to look for moving forward,” said Jane.
Hopebridge released a statement about the allegations:
We are working with the Greenwood Police Department on an active investigation it is conducting regarding an individual who formerly worked for us. The investigation is not focused on any of our other employees.
Due to employee and patient confidentiality, we are not at liberty to provide any additional details to those not directly involved in the investigation. The safety and well-being of our patients, visitors, and staff has always been our main priority. We will continue to cooperate fully with the police.
Kennedy told investigators he was confessing to rid himself of the “snakes and shadows” inside of him.
A search of Kennedy’s electronics reportedly found a search on DuckDuckGo of a “13-year-old gang raped” and two sexual images of very young children he received from someone on the Whispr app.
Kennedy was arrested after his confession and preliminarily charged with child molestation and possession of child porn.
Court documents indicate Kennedy is considered a flight risk since he told several people he was heading out of state. Investigators requested a no bond hold be placed before he appears in front of a judge.
Director of Prevent Child Abuse Indiana Jeff Wittman said often a child who is experiencing abuse will often present more risk-taking behavior.
“I think it is important to have a trauma-informed approach. We aren’t looking at the behavior first and saying what’s wrong with you but saying what is going on this is not like you,” said Wittman.
“Children are resilient and they can come back from these kinds of these. We have to give them love and support.”