Athens Mayor James “Monte” Montgomery along with three other area men were recently charged with online solicitation of a minor, sexual conduct as part of a DPS sting operation.

Mayor Montgomery resigned Friday, a day after being charged with online solicitation of a minor, sexual conduct.

Athens officials said they will appoint an interim mayor within the month.

The Texas Department of Public Safety Criminal Investigations Division confirmed with a Tyler Morning Telegraph reporter that Montgomery was arrested as part of an undercover sting.

According to DPS, the operation was in conjunction with the Smith County Sheriff’s Office, Longview Police Department, Gregg County Sheriff’s Office, Collin County Sheriff’s Office, FBI and Homeland Security Investigations.

Montgomery and the other suspects were arrested when they arrived at an undisclosed location after soliciting sex online with investigators posing as minors, according to DPS.

Also charged were Jesse Bennett Mason of Hallsville; Jordan Rook of Longview; and Michael David Bylsma of White Oak.

Montgomery, 63, of Athens, was arrested by Longview police and released Thursday on $300,000 bond from the Gregg County Jail.

According to the city of Athens website, Montgomery is serving a term through 2023.

“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,” the DPS said in a statement.

The city of Athens released a statement early Friday that says city officials were shocked to learn about Mongtomery’s arrest.

“These are very serious allegations and the city of Athens does not take them lightly,” the statement said. “We are committed to the protection and safety of our children. The city council will be considering all possible actions as details become available.”

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