Church contractor charged with child solicitation – NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth
Investigators say a man used his post at a church to hire young girls as interns, then offered to face a charge of felony solicitation of a minor, officials from the Tarrant County Sheriff’s Office say. .
Kenneth Tyler Hostin, 33, was arrested by the Sheriff’s Department on August 19 after an underage teenager told a camp counselor he asked him for nude photos, undress and 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 hired to provide audio / video services to several churches in the area. It was in these churches, investigators said, that Hostin used his position to contact young women and hire them under the pretext of being an intern. He would then solicit sexual acts from these young women, investigators said.
Investigators said they spoke to three women who worked for Hostin at one point or another and all reported inappropriate behavior and were offered.
The girl who contacted a camp counselor in June about her experience said she started working for Hostin as an intern that month and it was arranged through her church, Compass Church.
She told detectives that almost immediately after he started working with Hostin, he started making inappropriate comments. On the second day of his internship, she accompanied him to another church campus where they were receiving “strange looks” which, according to court documents, he attributed to a “misunderstanding involving a young girl.”
The girl told investigators that on her second day of work, he asked her about her sexual history and sexual preferences.
She said it wasn’t long before Hostin asked her to play truth-or-dare and challenged her to take nude photos, undress, masturbate and allow him to put ice in his pants. She told investigators she turned down all challenges, but put ice in her own pants while “trying to negotiate her way out of the sex conversation.” She said when she put the ice in her pants it was “extremely uncomfortable” and that Hostin was less than 12 inches and was looking into her pants.
About two weeks after starting her work with Hostin, the young girl was attending a religious camp in mid-June where she asked another girl who previously worked for Hostin if he had ever slapped her buttocks. She said the girl told her no, but her reaction to the question told her that maybe it wasn’t.
The young girl then reported her experiences with Hostin to the camp counselors.
The girl’s father told investigators in an interview in July that someone at Compass Church told him that another girl had previously accused Hostin of inappropriate contact, but they would not confirm to her his identity.
In July, Pastor Nate Grella of Compass Church told investigators he had not spoken directly to the other accuser but had spoken with his mother who worked at the church. Grella said the girl’s mother confirmed that not only had something happened with her daughter, but that Hostin had allegedly made sexual comments towards her as well.
Second woman interviewed
The mother of one of the potential victims who worked at the church told investigators that Hostin had previously been fired from the church for inappropriate contact with a young parishioner, but was allowed to return after the daughter went to college.
Investigators reached out to this girl who told them in an interview that when she was 18 she had returned from boarding school and was volunteering with the church in the audio / video area.
She said she had been sexually abused before and was going through a phase where she was cutting herself. She said Hostin knew this and used that information to manipulate her. She said Hostin dared her to play the truth or dare on a text and dared her to send him a nude photo. She said she got around it by sending a photo of her feet. She said he asked her about her shaving habits and that on at least one occasion, when she was 18, he asked her if he could come over and bring alcohol to a place where she stayed at home.
She said after asking her to send a nude photo, she told church officials who said they were not surprised by her behavior.
According to the arrest warrant, the woman showed investigators text messages from April 2016 allegedly sent by Hostin, in which he spoke of masturbation and his disinterest in playing truth or dare with him. Police said other photos of text messages shared with police “showed a manipulative grooming pattern.”
Third woman interviewed
The girl whose mother worked for the church was questioned by detectives in late July and said that during her internship, Hostin regularly questioned her about her relationship with her boyfriend and about her sex life. She told investigators he picked up his phone once and read a text thread about a sensitive situation in his life. After that, the girl said, he made offers to her every day for about five months. She said he would put some money on his desk and ask how much it would take to have sex. She said he slapped her buttocks several times and that once, while she was wearing a skirt, he asked to see her panties. She said that they would have to travel for work and that she would put the hotel rooms as far away as possible because he kept making offers to her. She said he threatened her with details of the personal matter if she reported his behavior.
According to the arrest warrant, the third woman 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 that this happened because she feared he would use his personal information against her if she spoke up.
The girl later approached her again at the camp, this time while she was at a table with camp counselors. The girl told the advisers that her boss, Hostin, was inappropriate and asked her for Truth or Dare sex favors. She said that upon hearing this detail her “heart sank” because she knew the young girl was suffering from the same solicitation and harassment that she had suffered. She again denied that Hostin slapped her buttocks, again out of fear that her personal information would be leaked, but later said she told her story to church officials when she left. realized that the camp counselors did not take the girl’s allegation seriously.
Investigators reach out to suspect
Tarrant County Sheriff’s Deputies contacted Hostin on August 12 and asked him to show up for an interview the next day. He agreed to the interview, the sheriff’s office said, but canceled the date of the appointment on the advice of his lawyer.
An arrest warrant for Hostin was issued on August 18 and, according to the sheriff’s office, he was arrested the next day. He is not on the current Tarrant County Jail list and is believed to have been released after posting bail.
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.