A former Northwest school district trustee has been sentenced to five years’ probation for sharing and receiving nude photos of young people.
Mel Fuller, 53, of Hurst, also must pay a $1,500 fine, perform 120 hours of community service and surrender his teaching licenses, according to a plea agreement reached with prosecutors last month.
Fuller shared porn with a group and planned a sex trip with a girl, according to an arrest warrant.
Fuller, who previously had lived in Trophy Club, pleaded guilty to a charge of possession of lewd visual material.
He was the second Northwest school board member under a criminal investigation for a youth-related crime since 2012. Ex-trustee Kerry D. Jones, 56, of Trophy Club was indicted in 2013 by a Denton County grand jury on four counts of improper relationship between an educator and a student. His trial is pending, according to Denton County criminal court records.
In Fuller’s case, he must inform Gateway Church or any other house of worship he may attend of his sentence and charge, according to the plea agreement.
“We want to make sure all are informed,” said Jamie Beck, first assistant criminal district attorney in Denton County, in an email Tuesday.
Fuller, who had been free on $25,000 bond, resigned Nov. 1 from his position on the Northwest school board just after his arrest.
Federal agents and police from Trophy Club and Flower Mound executed a search warrant on Fuller’s home in Trophy Club on Aug. 31, according to an arrest warrant. Fuller, who was married, was home but was not arrested then.
The investigation began in December 2016 when agents with Homeland Security were alerted by Ontario Provincial police about an internet user with the name PASTORYNG1 who later used the name HORNYPASTOR, PASTORONY AND PASTORSDAUGHTER666. The user posted images of children he sexually abused that he claimed were from his church and other churches.
During the investigation, agents determined that the so-called pastor had communicated with a user named DAVEBARD in December 2016, and at least two images and one video appeared to be child sexual abuse material.
In April 2017, the investigation showed the DAVEBARD account was registered to an email address, email@example.com and that person was Mel Fuller, according to the warrant.
Fuller was arrested in October 2017.
Jones, the other ex-Northwest trustee, is accused of having sexual encounters with a male student at Jones’ Trophy Club home between April 2010 and March 2011, according to Trophy Club police reports.
Jones was a counselor at Colleyville Heritage High School.
Colleyville Heritage is in the Grapevine-Colleyville district. Trophy Club is in the Northwest school district.
Jones also was a counselor at Northwest High School from 1992 to 2009 and was the school’s soccer coach from 1992-95, according to a Northwest school district news release.
He served on the Northwest school board from 2011 until 2013, according to the Northwest school district website.
On Jones’ 2011 school board campaign website, he said he had a master’s degree in education and counseling from the University of North Texas and had three grown sons. The website said he was a reserve deputy constable in Denton County and held a state peace officer’s license.
Jones has been free on $40,000 bail.
Authorities began an investigation into Jones after receiving a complaint in 2012 from a male student who was legally an adult.
The student was 17 at the time of his first encounter with Jones, Trophy Club police said.
In August 2012, the student notified state Child Protective Services of the encounters, authorities said. At the time, Jones was a licensed foster parent caring for an 8-year-old boy. The student told a CPS caseworker that he was concerned Jones might do something inappropriate with the boy.
Tarrant County Assistant District Attorney Kelly Meador was appointed as special prosecutor in the case.
“The defense filed a motion to quash the indictment and there was a hearing in July at which that motion was denied,” said Sam Jordan, a spokeswoman for the Tarrant County district attorney’s office.
No trial date was listed for Jones as of Tuesday.