ARLINGTON -- For the past six years, Rickie Wayne Terry has built a solid reputation as junior high youth director at Holy Cross Lutheran Church in west Arlington, his pastor said.
But church leaders said they were stunned when Arlington police notified them this past weekend that they were investigating Terry on allegations that had been molesting a 13-year-old Arlington boy over the past year.
“This is a shock to everybody,” the Rev. Bill Lowrey said Friday. “He’s done a lot of wonderful things for the church without a doubt.”
On Tuesday, Arlington police arrested Terry, who was also until recently a counselor at Carter Junior High School, on a charge of indecency with a child. Terry, 42, was released on $15,000 bail.
Lowrey said Terry was immediately placed on administrative leave this past Sunday. Church leaders sent letters to congregation on Monday about the investigation and held meetings with the parents to investigate whether they had any complaints about inappropriate actions by the youth minister.
“We acted as promptly as we could to protect our children,” Lowrey said. “There were no allegations that I am aware of from anyone in our congregation.”
Lowrey said he personally called Terry on Sunday to notify him about the church’s decision to place him on administrative leave and that Terry ‘seemed very accepting and understanding of that action.”
On Sept. 3, Arlington police notified the school district of the child’s allegations, which included being fondled and spanked on his bare bottom while at the counselor’s home when he spent the night with the man’s stepson. District officials placed Terry on paid administrative leave during the investigation. Terry resigned from Carter Junior High, where he had worked the past six years, on Oct. 22.
The district began an in-house investigation and turned over its findings to Arlington police, district spokeswoman Amy Casas said late Thursday.
"We immediately removed him from his post," Casas said. "The investigation began immediately. All the proper steps were taken."
No one responded to messages left on a phone listed in Terry's name Thursday night.
Terry is "accused of having inappropriate contact" with the boy, police said in a statement that did not indicate whether the boy was a student at Carter.
"The teen boy, who is not being identified because of his age and the nature of the offense, made an outcry to a mediator while at the Tarrant County Juvenile Detention Center in September 2010," according to the statement. "The boy said Terry would fondle him on more than one occasion while staying at Terry's home.
"There is no indication at this point in the investigation that any improper incidents occurred at school."
Terry started with the district in August 2001 as a resource teacher at Bebensee Elementary. After two years there, he was a counselor at Rankin Elementary for two years and then moved to Carter. His salary was $59,500.
Terry's educator certificate is under review by the State Board for Educator Certification's professional discipline unit, according to the agency's website.
Staff writer Mitch Mitchell contributed to this report.