Longview, TX

East Texas Mayor James Montgomery Resigns After Arrest for Soliciting a Minor

Robert Turner

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Monty Montgomery, ex-Mayor of Athens, TexasThe Sun

In an undercover police sting operation, Montgomery and three others were arrested on the 3rd of June when they arrived at an undisclosed location after soliciting sex online with investigators posing as minors, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety.

James Montgomery is, or was, the Mayor of Athens, located about 70 miles southeast of Dallas. Athens is known as the “Black-Eyed Pea Capital of the World” and its other claim to fame is as the locale where the American hamburger was invented by Fletcher Davis in the 1880s at his lunch counter on the north side of the courthouse square.

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Montgomery and co-accusedGregg County Jail

Montgomery, 63, was arrested by Longview police and released Thursday after posting a $300,000 bond. Court records did not list an attorney for Montgomery who could speak on his behalf and Athens officials said they will appoint an interim mayor within the month. Montgomery’s term was not set to end until 2023.

In a statement the city said;

“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.”

The arrests were the result of a multi-agency operation across several counties, all relating to charges of online solicitation of a minor. 

Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) 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, arrested the four suspects for online solicitation of a minor during an operation on Wednesday and Thursday.

Jesse Bennet Mason, aged 40, from Hallsville, was also charged with possession of child pornography and possession of child pornography with intent to distribute.

Online Solicitation of a Minor under Texas Penal Code Section 33.021 is a felony of the second degree. Second-degree felonies are punishable by up to 20 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

James “Monty” Montgomery, according to previous interviews with a local paper during his campaign, owns a construction business and was born and raised in Athens. Before his time as mayor, he was a member of the city council. He was only recently re-elected for a third two-year term in May of this year.

In a statement at the time, Montgomery said;

“I’m honored that the voters have put their faith in me for another two years and I will do my best to make the decisions for all the citizens,”

On the 25th of January this year Robinson Police Department and the Texas Department of Public Safety worked together to arrest six men who were also charged with solicitation of minors. Texas law enforcement is making a clear effort to address the problem of men soliciting sex from minors online.

At the time of the arrests in Robinson, Police Chief Rich Andreucci had this to say;

“I really just want to get the point across that when these people are looking online to solicit sex with minors that they may very well be speaking to law enforcement. Hopefully, we can stop this kind of stuff from happening.”

Many people don’t realize that a person can be charged with internet solicitation even if they haven’t made contact with an actual child. A substantial proportion of online solicitation charges come as a result of undercover police sting operations.

Typically a sting would work as follows. A law enforcement officer will pose as a 13- to 15-year-old girl or boy. The officer will set up an internet profile or enter a chat room and will then wait to be contacted by an adult who is seeking sexual interaction with a minor. 

The officer lets the relationship grow to the point where a face-to-face meeting is scheduled. At that meeting, the suspected sex offender is arrested.

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A founder of Medika Life, We are driven to providing actionable and accurate health information for patients and professionals. We pride ourselves on highlighting patient needs and issues that directly impact access to care. I travel frequently and divide my time between Asia, England, and the US. Health fanatic, tech addict, and occasional surfer.

Dallas, TX
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