AKRON, Ohio (WJW) — Less than two years into a nearly six-year sentence, an Akron man who posed as a police officer to run his own “scared straight” program is being released early from prison.
Christopher Hendon pleaded guilty to multiple charges in January of 2018 facing a possible total maximum sentence at the time of 122 years in prison.
He was sentenced by Summit County Common Pleas Judge Christine Croce to five years and 11 months in prison.
On Tuesday, his attorney told the same judge court that after less than two years behind bars he believed Hendon has paid his debt to society and is deserving of an early release.
Prosecutors objected to the request believing that the time served is not enough for the crimes for which Hendon pleaded guilty.
A spokesman for Summit County Prosecutor Sherry Bevin Walsh says Hendon handcuffed young children and assaulted them, throwing them against lockers.
He was accused of taking young children to the Juvenile Detention Center in handcuffs and taking photos of them in a holding cell.
His self-run ‘scared straight’ program eventually extended into several Akron schools where his portrayal of a certified peace officer was perceived to be genuine.
Before Judge Croce on Tuesday Hendon himself said ” I definitely want to apologize to the victims and the victims families. As a parent, I am a parent too so I understand the frustration, the hate, anger throughout all of this. I’d like to apologize to the Akron Schools and the board of education for bringing so much trouble. I didn’t never intend to bring all that trouble onto them and the city of Akron as well. These last few years has been pretty hectic. While I was down I did learn a lot and as I said before I was so quick to do and not really think about what could really happen with a lot of things and I do feel like I learned my lesson.
Croce addressed Hendon saying he has done what she expected from him at the time of sentencing.
“The number of programs and employment readiness that you have completed and your actual risk assessment determined by the penitentiary all leads me to believe that what I told you at sentencing you took to heart, and I am happy to see that,” said Croce.
“Before this case happened he was obviously on track to become a police officer and he was a guy who was trying to make a difference in his community,” said his attorney Noah Munyer. “He took it a little too far and ended up going into the schools at the school’s request and it became an issue and at the juvenile jail as well, but the intention was always positive.”
In court on Tuesday, Munyer noted that a number of parents of the juveniles who were a part of his informal program were actually appreciative of what Hendon was doing.
“I think that what we saw here and what we saw at sentencing was a guy who basically first time offender, went to prison for a year and nine months and aside from wearing the wrong t-shirt one day he conducted himself appropriately,” said Munyer.
To the parents who are upset over Hendon’s ruse, Munyer said: ” I would say he has paid his debt to society and he is going to be a positive force in this community.”
Among family members in court for Tuesday’s hearing was Hendon’s mother, Tina Evans, who wanted to thank the judge and his attorneys.
“We are just happy for him to be home. It’s been a long 18 months,” she said. “He was only out to help kids those mothers inboxed my son for help and he gave them help. Where it went wrong, I don’t know.”
Hendon is expected to be released later this week after a hearing in re-entry court.