Seven people, including a North Crowley High School teacher, were arrested for online solicitation of a minor after a weekend law enforcement sting.
The 29-year-old science teacher, Jarrod Cook, has been placed on administrative leave pending the result of an investigation, according to Anthony Kirchner, a spokesman for the Crowley school district.
Sgt. Wade Walls, supervisor of Fort Worth’s crimes against children unit, said the sting involved investigators posing online as girls and boys ages 13 to 15.
The seven suspects went to an agreed upon location to have sexual contact with a person they believed was a teenage girl, Walls said.
Instead they were greeted and arrested by police.
Investigators intend to obtain an arrest warrant for an eighth suspect who fled the location, Walls said.
According to an affidavit, Cook is accused of responding to a post reading “Sunday funday?” that police had made on a social media application called Whisper.
When told in a subsequent exchange that he was communicating with a 15-year-old girl, Cook allegedly responded, “I think it’s kinda hot that you’re young and inexperienced,” the affidavit states.
The conversation eventually evolved into exchanged text messages of a sexual nature. The affidavit states Cook sent the “girl” a photo of himself and of a penis before eventually asking to meet with her.
Cook, who lives in Fort Worth, was hired by the Crowley school district in August 2016, Kirchner said.
The six other arrested men were identified as Douglas Hammonds, 63, a transient; James Marshall, 26, of Euless; Zachary Blakley, 20, of Granbury; Donny Stringer, 59, of Garland; Geronimo Farias, 32, of North Richland Hills; and Gary Gibson, 55, of Joshua.
Hammonds is a registered sex offender who was sentenced to 4 1/2 years in federal prison in 2004.
He was released in December 2008 on supervised release but later returned to federal prison after he was found to have violated imposed conditions, court records show.
Walls said several units and outside agencies assisted with the sting, including Arlington police, the Texas Department of Public Safety, the Tarrant County Sheriff’s Office and Homeland Security Investigations personnel.