An Arlington pastor facing a charge related to child pornography also has ties to a local school, district officials confirmed Friday.
Brett Monroe, 38, was arrested Wednesday by the Arlington Police Department on one count of child pornography possession. The Arlington Independent School District confirmed Monroe is a registered volunteer at Corey Academy of Fine Arts & Dual Language.
“To date, the district has not received any claims of inappropriate behavior from parents or students related to this individual. We encourage parents to talk to their children and report any suspicious behavior,” a statement from the district reads in part. “Prior to the arrest of the volunteer, the background check was clear. The Arlington ISD will fully cooperate with the Arlington Police Department and any other law enforcement agencies should they require any information or resources from the district.”
Anita Foster, Executive Director of Marketing and Communications, for Arlington ISD said Monroe is no longer authorized to be on any of their campuses.
Arlington police said Monroe’s arrest was part of a coordinated effort with Homeland Security Investigations, which is a division of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
Mornoe has served on the staff of Heritage Baptist Church in Arlington for the past 11 years, according to a LinkedIn profile bearing his name. Online records also list the church as a place of employment.
His name also appears under a Google search result for the Heritage Baptist Church website, with the archived webpage stating he was an associate pastor. His name, however, is absent from the current “Meet Our Staff” page.
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No one answered the door at Monroe’s last listed home address Friday when NBC 5 attempted to reach him for comment, but his next door neighbor Arrisca Harbor said news of his arrest came as a shock.
He and his family are “good church people,” Harbor said.
“They’re quiet. Church members be over there, donate to the Mission of Arlington, have garage sales. I mean, just normal,” Harbor told NBC 5.
NBC 5 attempted to reach a legal representative for Monroe, but online records indicate he has not retained an attorney as of Friday evening.
Pastor George Newcomb with the Heritage Baptist Church released the following statement to NBC 5 on Friday:
"As a ministry, we are always saddened and dismayed when one of our employees is arrested and charged with breaking the law. When a criminal allegation involves inappropriate conduct toward a child or children, our organization immediately suspends or terminates that individual from employment and from any contact with children pending the outcome of the criminal matter, and we fully cooperate with parents, state officials, and law enforcement. We believe that if children are safe anywhere, they should be safe at church. Heritage Baptist Church does not cover-up abuse, and we have zero tolerance for child abuse in our ministry. As a matter of policy, Heritage Baptist Church reports all suspicions of even potential child abuse to the authorities and cooperates fully with law enforcement. We carefully interview, screen, and train our employees and volunteers, and our leadership team works to maintain child protection policies based on best practices of Federal and Texas State law. We believe that transparency, child safety, and accountability are essential for successful ministry, and we are fully committed to ministering to our children in a safe and responsible manner. As this current matter involves a staff member who has already been arrested and criminally charged, upon the advice of legal counsel we will have no further comment on this matter. We are asking our staff and members not to discuss this matter further while it is pending before the courts. The church will also minister as appropriate to any victims and to any church members or staff who have been innocently caught up in this unfortunate and criminal matter."
The following is the full statement from Arlington ISD:
"The Arlington Police Department has informed the Arlington ISD of the arrest of a local resident on one count of child pornography. The arrested person is a registered volunteer at the Corey Academy of Fine Arts & Dual Language in the Arlington ISD. The district adheres to strict safeguards for volunteers which includes a criminal background check through the Texas Department of Public Safety and a rigorous policy that prohibits any volunteer from being left alone with a student. Additionally, every volunteer is required to sign-in through an electronic system each time they visit a campus. That system is designed to immediately flag school administrators of any changes to a volunteer’s background check status. To date, the district has not received any claims of inappropriate behavior from parents or students related to this individual. We encourage parents to talk to their children and report any suspicious behavior. Prior to the arrest of the volunteer, the background check was clear. The Arlington ISD will fully cooperate with the Arlington Police Department and any other law enforcement agencies should they require any information or resources from the district."