LAPORTE | A prominent LaPorte County resident has been charged with sexual misconduct with minors after he was accused of luring boys into removing their clothes.
After the incidents, Dave Kauffman was described by witnesses as "happy like a kid at Christmas,"according to court documents.
Kauffman, 57, has been charged in LaPorte Circuit Court with three counts of Class C felony attempted sexual assault with a minor and Class D felony attempted possession of child pornography.
The investigation by LaPorte County Police detective Jennifer Rhine-Walker revealed a scheme in which the Fish Lake man asked as many as 14 boys to take part in what he claimed was a study for a university.
Half of the boys took part, allowing Kauffman to conduct measurements, collect samples and ask questions about their sexual preferences that he explained were part of the so-called study, according to court documents.
The boys were also offered pornography to assist with their participation, said police.
Some of the boys told investigators that Kauffman, during the experiments, "was having fun," court documents revealed.
The charges allege Kauffman, on at least three occasions starting in 2008, asked a 15-year-old boy to take part in the same study. The boy was a cadet at the Lincoln Township Volunteer Fire Department where Kauffman was chief for well over a decade.
According to court documents, Kauffman was investigated in 1993 on allegations he molested a boy under the guise that he was taking part in a similar study. Charges in that case were never filed.
His arrest came several months after the boy in the present case reported Kauffman falsely accused him of stealing his boat after rejecting his sexual advance, police said.
''He is a big, prominent name in the Lincoln Township, Fish Lake community, said LaPorte County Police Chief of Detectives Pat Cicero.