Athens Texas Mayor Guilty of Child Obscenity Violations
The former mayor of Athens, Texas has pleaded guilty to federal child obscenity violations in the Eastern District of Texas, announced U.S. Attorney Brit Featherston today.
James Monte Montgomery, 64, pleaded guilty to sending obscene materials to a minor today before U.S. Magistrate Judge John D. Love.
According to public information, on June 3, 2021, Montgomery was arrested after arriving at an undisclosed location after soliciting sex online with investigators posing as minors. In June of 2020, Montgomery, then the mayor of Athens, Texas, began communicating by text messaging with a person he believed to be a 15-year-old female. Montgomery sent messages to the child describing sexually explicit acts that he wanted to perform on the child and offering to pay the child if she would meet him and have sex with him.
Montgomery faces up to 10 years in federal prison at sentencing. The maximum statutory sentence prescribed by Congress is provided here for information purposes, as the sentencing will be determined by the court based on the advisory sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the U.S. Probation Office.
This case is part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.justice.gov/psc.
This case is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Tyler Field Office, with assistance from the Texas Department of Public Safety, Collin County Sheriff’s Office, and the Department of Homeland Security-Homeland Security Investigations. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Austin Wells.
Montgomery, 63, was arrested in a multi-agency sting operation at an undisclosed location in Longview, Texas, targeting individuals soliciting sex from minors.
According to the probable cause affidavit, on June 1, 2020, Montgomery allegedly made contact with a person he believed to be a 14-year-old female through text message using a voice-over-IP phone in an attempt to conceal his identity.
That 14-year-old female however, was an investigator with the Collin County Sheriff’s Office who was conducting an investigation into subjects who made contact with children under the age of 17 for sexual acts.
“Texting continued with the 14 year old persona for over a year until Montgomery was taken into custody 6/3/21,” states the affidavit.
At one point during those text conversations, according to the affidavit, Montgomery stated he was looking for a younger girlfriend to meet once a week intimately.
Montgomery offered to pay the child’s bills, give a spending allowance, or $300 per week.
On June 2, 2020, age was established in the text messages.
“i up to do anything as long as i know up front but im almost 15. u okay with that?” read(sic) a text message that day.
“Text me a couple pics to prove it. I will erase them,” Montgomery allegedly responded, according to the affidavit.
In offering to pay the minor, Montgomery asked the minor if she was able to hide any money paid.
Investigators say Montgomery requested sex acts numerous times over the course of the year text conversation leading up to his arrest — acts which included “normal, regular sex,” bondage, and role-play.
The 14-year-old persona confirmed the sexual acts and payment of $300 to which Montgomery responded, “yes,” states the affidavit.
Montgomery refused to send a picture to the persona stating it was “too risky.” On other occasions, Montgomery stated “I really hope your not police and I’m getting in trouble.”
“If your real I hope you realize a setup puts me in prison,” Montgomery allegedly stated on September 2020.
A list of text messages also list a number of sexual requests through March 2021.
According to the affidavit, Montgomery backed out of meeting the persona until the June 3, 2021, meeting in Longview. Days prior, according to the affidavit, the persona had again confirmed Montgomery’s intent.
Montgomery was among four arrested on June 3, 2021, during the sting operation conducted by members of the Longview Police Department, Greg County Sheriff’s Office, Collin County Sheriff’s Office, the Federal Bureau of Investigations, and Homeland Security Investigations.
Montgomery was initially booked into the Greg County Jail and charged with online solicitation of a minor, sexual conduct, and was released after posting a $300,000 bond.
Following his arrest, Montgomery resigned as the mayor of the City of Athens. On Tuesday, the Athens City Council voted to appoint Mayor Pro-Tem Toni Clay as the Mayor. The council will, according to its charter, fill Clay’s now vacated position by appointment within 30 days.