A man investigators say used his position in a church to hire young girls as interns and then proposition them is facing a charge of criminal solicitation of a minor, officials with the Tarrant County Sheriff's Office say.
Kenneth Tyler Hostin, 33, was arrested by the sheriff's department on Aug. 19 after an underage teenager told a camp counselor he asked her for naked photos, to strip and to masturbate in front of him, according to an arrest warrant obtained by NBC 5.
Hostin, officials said in the court document, worked for Epic, a company contracted to provide audio/video services to several area churches. It was at those churches, investigators said, Hostin used his position to contact young females and hire them under the guise of being an intern. He would then solicit sex acts from these young females, investigators said.
Investigators said they talked with three females who worked for Hostin at one time or another and all of them reported inappropriate behavior and being propositioned.
The girl who reached out to a camp counselor in June about her experience said she began working for Hostin as an intern that month and that it was arranged through her church, Compass Church.
She told detectives that almost immediately after beginning to work with Hostin he began making inappropriate comments. On the second day of her internship, she accompanied him to a different church campus where they were getting "strange looks" that, according to court documents, he attributed to a "misunderstanding involving a young girl."
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The girl told investigators that by her second day on the job he was asking her about her sexual history and sexual preferences.
She said it wasn't long before Hostin asked her to play truth or dare and that he dared her to take naked photos, strip naked, masturbate and allow him to put ice down her pants. She told investigators that she refused all of the dares but put the ice down her own pants while "trying to negotiate her way out of the sexual conversation." She said that when she put the ice down her pants it was "extremely uncomfortable" and that Hostin was less than 12 inches away and was looking down her pants.
About two weeks after starting her job with Hostin the girl was attending a church camp in mid-June where she asked another girl who worked for Hostin previously if he had ever slapped her butt. She said the girl told her no, but that her reaction to the question indicated to her that maybe that wasn't the case.
The girl then reported her experiences with Hostin to camp counselors.
The girl's father told investigators during an interview in July that someone at Compass Church told him another girl had accused Hostin of improper contact before but that they would not confirm her identity to him.
In July, Pastor Nate Grella, of Compass Church, told investigators he hadn't spoken to the other accuser directly but that he had spoken with her mother who happened to work at the church. Grella said the girl's mother confirmed that not only had something occurred with her daughter but that Hostin had allegedly made sexual comments toward her as well.
Second Woman Interviewed
The mother of one of the possible victims who worked at the church told investigators that Hostin had been fired from the church previously for inappropriate contact with a young parishioner but that he was allowed to come back after the girl went on to college.
Investigators reached out to that girl who told them in an interview that when she was 18 she returned from boarding school and was volunteering with the church in the audio/video area.
She said she was a victim of sex abuse previously and was going through a phase where she was cutting herself. She said Hostin knew that and used that information to manipulate her. She said Hostin dared her to play truth or dare over a text and dared her to send him a nude picture. She said she got around it by sending a picture of her feet. She said he asked her about her shaving habits and on at least one occasion when she was 18, he asked if he could come over and bring alcohol to a place where she was house sitting.
She said after he asked her to send a nude photo she told church officials who indicated they were not surprised by his behavior.
According to the arrest warrant, the woman showed investigators text messages from April 2016 allegedly sent by Hostin where he talked about masturbation and her disinterest in playing truth or dare with him. Police said the other photos of text messages shared with police "showed a pattern of manipulative grooming."
Third Woman Interviewed
The girl whose mother worked for the church was interviewed by detectives in late July and said that during her internship Hostin regularly asked her about her relationship with her boyfriend and about her sex life. She told investigators that he took her phone on one occasion and read a text thread of a sensitive situation in her life. After that, the girl said, he propositioned her every day for about five months. She said he would put money on his desk and ask how much it would take to have sex. She said he slapped her buttocks on numerous occasions and on one occasion, when she was wearing a skirt, asked to see her panties. She said they would have to travel for work and that she would put the hotel rooms as far apart as possible because he kept propositioning her. She said he threatened her with details of the personal matter if she reported his behavior.
According to the arrest warrant, the third female interviewed by detectives is the same girl who was asked at the church camp if Hostin had ever slapped her buttocks. She said she denied it took place because she feared he would use her personal information against her if she spoke out.
The girl later approached her at camp again, this time when she was at a table with camp counselors. The girl told the counselors her boss, Hostin, was being inappropriate and had been asking her for sexual favors through truth or dare. She said when she heard that detail her "heart dropped" because she knew the girl was suffering through the same solicitation and harassment she had dealt with. She again denied that Hostin had slapped her buttocks, again out of fear her personal information would be released, but later said she told church officials her story when she realized camp counselors were not taking the girl's allegation seriously.
Investigators Reach Out to Suspect
Tarrant County Sheriff's Deputies reached out to Hostin on Aug. 12 and asked him to come in for an interview the following day. He agreed to the interview, the sheriff's office said, but canceled on the day of the appointment on the advice of his attorney.
An arrest warrant for Hostin was issued on Aug. 18 and, according to the sheriff's office, he was arrested the next day. He is not listed on the current Tarrant County Jail roster and is presumed to have been freed after posting bond.
Pastor Grella, meanwhile, told police on July 14 that Hostin had been banned from all Compass Church campuses and that his employer had been notified.
Any additional information regarding Hostin can be directed to the Tarrant County Sheriff’s Office, Detective M. Weber at 817-884-1305.