The 33-year-old artistic director of Jubilee Theatre was arrested Friday by police who were investigating complaints that a man offered three boys in southeast Fort Worth money for sex.
Declois Garrett Beacham, who goes professionally by the name Tre Garrett, surrendered at the Tarrant County Jail and was released on bail after arranging a “walkthrough.”
Beacham faces two charges of compelling prostitution with a child under 18. His attorney, Patrick Curran, said Beacham maintains his innocence.
Beacham told police that he was a member of the board of the Young Men’s Leadership Academy, an all-boys school in the Fort Worth school district.
Clint Bond, a spokesman for the school district, said Beacham had visited the Leadership Academy as Tre Garrett to assist in a performance for the students there and to inquire about purchasing books for the school. Beacham never purchased any books, Bond said.
Outside the Jubilee Theatre on Main Street in downtown Fort Worth on Friday night, managing director Glenda Thompson read a statement released by the theater’s board:
“I only know what I’ve seen and heard in the news and cannot make any comment on the allegations against Tre Garrett. I have known Tre for five years and have not seen any indication he would participate in the kind of behavior he is accused of. He is a very talented individual and has done excellent work at Jubilee and other theaters in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. We will have to wait to see how the situation unfolds.”
Thompson said theater personnel were aware that Garrett’s real name was Beacham. She said that he worked with actors of all ages in his position as artistic director.
“It’s unfortunate,” Thompson said.
Matthew Brady, a pedestrian on Main Street who said he is a longtime supporter of the Jubilee Theatre, said he hoped the police were wrong.
“We need the Jubilee Theatre to thrive,” Brady said. “I hope this doesn’t hit the theater too hard. I hope he’s not guilty of this.”
Friday night, the theater presented a preview performance of the Texas premiere of In Real Life. The full run of the play begins Feb. 6.
During an interview with police, Beacham denied talking to any children while seated in his car, according to an arrest warrant affidavit. Becham said he is often in the East Rosedale area because he mentors a 19-year-old who lives there, his favorite restaurant is in the area and he has friends who live in the area.
According to arrest warrant affidavits, on Jan. 9, Beacham, driving a newer model gray BMW series 300 sedan pulled up beside a 17-year-old who was walking in the 1800 block of Lucas Drive and asked if he knew anyone who would perform oral sex with him for $100. The teen ran away after Beacham showed him the money.
On Jan. 12, Beacham, again in the BMW, drove up beside two boys, 10 and 11, and asked if they wanted to make $100. The 11-year-old said he was interested, and both boys walked to the rear gate of their apartment complex in the 5300 block of East Rosedale Street as Beacham instructed.
Beacham showed the boys $100 in cash and asked them to get into his car. The 11-year-old asked if his 10-year-old friend could come along, but the younger boy declined and told his mother what had happened after arriving home. The boy’s mother subsequently called the police.
The 11-year-old initially told police that Beacham gave him $100 to provide him with oral sex but later recanted his statement. During a specialized interview, he said that Beacham tried to put his mouth on the boy’s “middle part” but that he fought Beacham off and took the $100.
But the boy also told police that he was paid $100 to mow Beacham’s grass. An officer said there were no grass clippings on his pants or his shoes at the time of the interview. The boy told the officer that he was afraid of being punished by his parents if they found out about any sexual activity.
The 11-year-old gave police five $20 bills and said that he got them from Beacham. The boy’s mother said her son had no access to that much money.
The three boys identified Beacham in a photo array as the man who approached them and offered them money for sex.
Beacham was under surveillance for more than a week, police said.
“He knows that we’ve been watching him and his attorney knows that we’ve been watching him, so the public has been in no danger,” police Detective Chris Daniels said at a news conference on Friday.
Good work at Jubilee
Garrett, a native of Mississippi, grew up in Houston. Before coming to Fort Worth, Garrett worked for Disney and was the assistant director of several shows on Broadway, including the 2005 revival of Julius Caesar starring Denzel Washington.
Still in his 20s, he was hired as artistic director of Jubilee Theatre in the fall of 2010, replacing previous director Ed Smith, who had been in the post for five years after the untimely 2005 death of Jubilee’s co-founder Rudy Eastman.
In his five years, Jubilee’s audience has grown and Garrett increased the standard of drama there, introducing Jubilee audiences to such bold, contemporary African-American writers as Katori Hall and Tarell Alvin McCraney, whose play The Brothers Size, directed by Garrett, made many critics Top 10 lists a few months ago, including Mark Lowry’s No. 1 spot in the Star-Telegram.
Correspondent Mark Lowry contributed to this report.
Mitch Mitchell, 817-390-7752