It could have been a routine traffic stop, police say, but then an officer noticed an underage boy in the back of a Missouri teacher's car.
Richard Ives, who teaches fine arts at Mary Institute and St. Louis Country Day School, was arrested for felony enticement of a child and patronizing prostitution just after midnight on Wednesday, according to Fox2. A cop pulled over Ives because he failed to make a proper stop, police say, and then saw a boy who appeared to be underage in the back seat.
The teacher admitted to having sexual relations with the boy, who investigators confirmed was younger than 15 years old, and the officer found 10 $20 bills in the pocket of the minor, police told Fox2. It is alleged they met on the gay hook-up application Grindr.
The man admitted to the officer that he took the boy to a commuter parking lot, according to court documents obtained by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, after picking him up from a street corner in Bloomsdale. Police say he admitted to paying the boy for a "lap dance."
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The boy was incoherent when talking, police say, and admitted to other sex acts. According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, that led police to also charge Ives with second-degree statutory sodomy.
Ives is now out on bond, according to KMOV.
The school released a tweet about the arrest, saying that "we're saddened to share news of faculty member Rich Ives' arrest."
A longer statement from Lisa Lyle, head of the school, said that "the young person involved is not a student or camper at our school." It confirmed that Ives, who was also a camp director at MICDS, is on leave as police investigate.
"The safety, health and well-being of all children is our first priority," Lyle wrote. "We conduct thorough, periodic background screenings on all employees, provide training regarding child safety, and respond immediately and appropriately to all reports of misconduct."
Grindr, an app geared toward male-identified members of the LGBTQ community, has no way to verify the age of users.
Over half of all sexually active gay and bisexual adolescents reported using gay hook-up apps like Grindr, according to The Journal of Adolescent Health.
Verifying the ages of users is a continual problem for the application, as noted by AlterNet.
"Grindr has almost no user vetting," the article says. "Creating a profile is easy, quick and free. Any user with a smartphone can access the app. Users are required to be at least 18 according to the terms of service, but it's a meaningless requirement, since there's no proof of identity needed to sign up."