Bryan youth minister arrested for soliciting a minor online

Published: Sep. 14, 2018 at 8:38 PM CDT
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A Bryan youth minister is facing charges after investigators say he was caught soliciting sex from a minor online.

The Office of the Attorney General has charged James Charles Landes, 29, with online solicitation of a minor.

KBTX confirmed that Landes works part-time as the junior high youth director at First United Methodist Church in Bryan. Rev. Rick Sitton with FUMC said at no time during Landes’ employment did anyone express concerns about his behavior. He did not believe Landes' would be allowed to continue working at the church, but meetings had not yet been held after the late Friday arrest to terminate his employment. The church said they are fully cooperating with the attorney general’s investigation. Sitton added the church was keeping all involved in their prayers.

According to a probable cause statement from the Attorney General's office, investigators posed as a young girl on a social media app that allows anonymous messaging. On September 11, Landes started a conversation with investigators, who he believed were a 14-year-old girl. Over the course of the conversation, Landes asked the girl to send him pictures and if she'd ever had sex before.

Investigators say Landes then gave the person he believed was a child his cell phone number and began a conversation over text message. Officers said the nature of those conversations were sexual and Landes agreed to meet the girl for sex at Sadie Thomas Park.

A warrant was issued for Landes' arrest and the Brazos County Sheriff's Office confirmed that Landes turned himself in around 4 p.m. Friday.

Landes is currently in the Brazos County Detention Center. His bond is set at $15,000.

Landes indicated in conversations with investigators and on his Facebook profile that he was employed as a restaurant manager. His Facebook profile suggests his employment with the restaurant has since been terminated.

Editor's Note: A previous version of this story identified Landes as a former youth pastor. Landes was actively serving as First United Methodist Church in Bryan's junior high youth pastor at the time of his arrest.