BR golf instructor accused of soliciting juvenile in Acadiana

A 65-year-old youth golf instructor from Baton Rouge was arrested this week on suspicion he used text messages to try to lure a boy into a sexual encounter in St. Mary Parish, State Police said.

Paul Hensley Jr. was booked Wednesday on one count of online solicitation of a juvenile and one count of indecent behavior with a juvenile.

He remained in the St. Mary Parish Jail on Thursday awaiting a bond hearing, Trooper Stephen Hammons said.

Hensley was ensnared in a trap set by State Police after the juvenile’s guardian became alarmed by text messages the boy had received from Hensley.

Though the messages were not sexually explicit at first, the guardian recognized what was developing, Hammons said.

“The guardian had attended training provided by State Police which taught the warning signs of sexual predators,” Hammons said.

The woman contacted State Police, handing over the boy’s cellphone to detectives who assumed the youth’s identity and kept the conversation with Hensley going, Hammons said.

“As their investigation furthered, Hensley became sexually explicit with his conversations,” Hammons said. “Hensley also indicated he wanted to meet the boy at a location in St. Mary Parish for a sexual encounter.”

Hammons declined to reveal where in St. Mary Parish the meeting was set but arresting officers met Hensley when he arrived at the agreed upon location.

Hensley has given golf lessons to youths over the years in Baton Rouge and in St. Mary Parish and troopers are interested in talking to the parents of youths who got golf instructions from him about their children’s experiences, Hammons said.

Anyone with information should call State Police at (337) 262-3341, he said.

“A person who has been the victim of a sexual predator has 30 years from his or her 18th birthday to report the crime to law enforcement,” Hammons said.

Hensley was at one time an unpaid volunteer coach at University High School, according to Ernie Ballard, director of media relations at LSU, which operates the school.

He was not a member of the faculty and was not technically an LSU employee, Ballard said.

Hensley’s last year at the school was 2006, Ballard said, though he had no information about when Hensley started coaching at University High. Hensley was a golf instructor for male and female students at the school.

Advocate reporter Ben Wallace contributed to this report.