EAST TEXAS (KETK) The Texas Department of Public safety has revealed that four people were arrested in a online soliticiation of a minor operation earlier this week, including the City of Athens mayor.
According to DPS, the suspects were arrested after arriving at an undisclosed location following communication with investigators posing as minors.
The following people were arrsted:
- Jesse Mason, 40, of Hallsville
- James Montgomery, 63, of Athens
- Jordan Rook, 23, of Kilgore
- Michael Bylsma, 42, of Karnack
All four were booked into the Gregg County Jail. Mason was also charged with possession of child pornography and possession with intent to distribute child pornography.
Solicitation of a minor involves a defendant asking or engaging in a conversation with a minor and during the course of that conversation, the defendant asks (or solicits) the minor to meet them for the purpose of engaging in a sexual act.
Under the Texas Penal Code, this charge is a second degree felony and each man could face up to 20 yeras in prison and a $10,000 fine.
CITY OF ATHENS RESPONSE
The City of Athens has released a statement on Mayor Montgomery’s arrest for online solicitation of a minor.
It is listed in full below:
We were shocked to learn yesterday of Mr. Montgomery’s arrest in Longview.
These are very serious allegations and the City of Athens does not take them lightly. We are committed to the protection and safety of our children. The City Council will be considering all possible actions as details become available.
As this is a Longview Police Department investigation, we have no information beyond what has been reported by the news media.
Montgomery’s bond was set at $300,000 surety with conditions, according to judicial records.
Texas Department of Public Safety Criminal Investigations Division in conjunction with Longview Police Department, Gregg County Sheriff’s Office, Smith County Sheriff’s Office, Collin County Sheriff’s Office, FBI, and HSI were involved in the sting.