Longview police arrested Athens Mayor James "Monte" Montgomery, 63, Thursday on charges of online solicitation of a minor and sexual conduct, according to the 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 multiple suspects for online solicitation of a minor charges during an operation Wednesday and Thursday. The suspects were arrested when they arrived at an undisclosed location after soliciting sex online with investigators posing as minors.
The officers arrested Jesse Bennett Mason of Hallsville, James Monte Montgomery of Athens, Jordyn Rook of Longview and Michael David Bylsma of White Oak. All were booked into the Gregg County Jail. Montgomery's bond was set at $300,000 and according to jail records, he bonded out Thursday.
DPS stated in a press release:
“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. 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.”
The City of Athens issued the following statement Friday morning:
“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 was re-elected as Athens mayor May 1 to his third two-year term.
He received 531 votes to opponent J.C. Cook's 75.