Greg County Jail

ATHENS, Texas — The mayor of the City of Athens was among four arrested Thursday during a sting in Longview, Texas, which targeted individuals soliciting sex from minors.

The Texas Department of Public Safety's joint-sting operation was conducted at an undisclosed location in Longview in conjunction with the Longview Police Department, Greg County Sheriff's Office, Collin County Sheriff's Office, the Federal Bureua of Investigations, and Homeland Security Investigations.

Arrested and charged in the operation were 63-year-old James "Monte" Montgomery of Athens, 40-year-old Jesse Bennet Mason of Hallsville, 23-year-old Jordan Rook of Longview, and 42-year-old Michael David Bylsma of White Oak.

Montgomery was recently re-elected as mayor of the City of Athens for a term expiring in 2023. He's been charged with online solicitation of a minor, sexual conduct, and was initially held in the Gregg County Jail on a $300,000 bond. He has since been released after posting that bond.

"Solicitation of a minor involves a defendant asking or engaging in a conversation with a minor and during the course of that conversation, the defendant asks (or solicits) the minor to meet them for the purpose of engaging in a sexual act," read a statement from the Texas Department of Public Safety.

Upon hearing of the allegations, the City of Athens released the following statement:

"We were shocked to learn yesterday of Mr. Montgomery's arrest in Longview.

These are very serious allegations and the City of Athens does not take them lightly. We are committed to the protection and safety of our children. The City Council will be considering all possible actions as details become available.

As this is a Longview Police Department investigation, we have no information beyond what has been reported by the news media."