Community members speak out amid molestation charges in Lone Grove

By: Shelby Levins Email
By: Shelby Levins Email

CARTER COUNTY – As of Monday night an adult Sunday school leader and former teacher accused of molestation is out on bond. Now fellow members of the man’s Springer church are speaking out. Shelby Levins reports.

Gary Montgomery was arrested on Friday, for allegations that he had inappropriately touched a 7-year old girl. Now he has been charged with lewd molestation of a child. But members of Montgomery's church say the court of public opinion is different from the court of law, and a man is innocent until proven guilty.

Gary Kent Montgomery, 63, stood in front of a special district judge via video conference Monday afternoon. Montgomery is charged with lewd molestation of a child. But Montgomery didn't stand alone, members of his church stood in court too, to show their support.

"I'm kind of speechless, other than he's a fine man, he's a godly man,” Ken Campbell said.

Campbell was pastor of the First Southern Baptist Church in Springer when Montgomery joined almost 20 years ago. Campbell describes Montgomery as a good man who taught Agriculture at Springer Schools for 31 years and also served as chief of the Volunteer Fire Department.

"Since I've known him and especially since he's joined this church he's done as good as job as anybody I know in following the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ," Campbell explained.

Most recently Montgomery worked as an Ag assistant for Lone Grove High School. School officials declined to comment on camera, but confirmed Montgomery handed in his resignation last week, before his arrest.

Shawn Condon, the current pastor says Montgomery led adult Sunday school, and his music stand still remains part of the congregation's choir.

"Regardless of accusations in the court of public opinion the church still has a duty to minister its members,” Condon explained.

According to court records Montgomery doesn't have any prior offenses. The Carter County Sheriff's office tells us the alleged molestation happened in a residence, outside of the church and school where Montgomery worked.

Church leaders say these accusations still stun the Springer community.

"I'm shocked by these allegations because I never saw any indications of anything to be alarmed about,” Condon said.

"I've known him 30 years and it’s just a shock,” Campbell said.

We called Gary Montgomery’s home and spoke with him over the phone. He simply said he had no comment about the allegations.

The District Attorney's office tells us Montgomery has retained an attorney, and is scheduled to be back in court next month.

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  • by jake Location: wilson on Nov 18, 2009 at 08:14 AM
    what is wrong with the world today? there is sick sick sick ppl out there so be carful lil boys and girls..... lone grove is just filled with rappers and they need to be delt with
  • by Human on Nov 18, 2009 at 03:44 AM
    As a molested child, I was shunned by the adults that I came forward to because of the status of the person that did it to me. This is not acceptable, but even with my history I realize that children tell lies, and can be coaxed to tell lies by their parents, I was told to lie in the opposite direction, and doing what I thought my mother would be proud of me, I did. So lets all stop and think, Investigation..and charge this man if he is guilty..and only if he is guilty, not just because the child said so...or because the church said so.
  • by another survivor Location: ardmore on Nov 17, 2009 at 07:55 PM
    i just want to say to all of you people who beleive this man did not do it i pray to god that your right for the childs sake not his, because you have forgotten about the alleged child whos life will be forever changed if this did happen and for everyone who keeps saying let the jury decide ,,your not sounds like some of you people are accusing the child to.. its the same difference by the way ,no wonder more victims dont come forward with everyone saying she or he is lying about (remember satin has many faces) you cant trust anyone anymore ,,just watch the news
  • by Robert Location: Springer on Nov 17, 2009 at 04:09 PM
    When I first learned of this. I was deeply saddened, for 2 reasons. 1st, most importantly, the possibility a child had been harmed in the manner implied. 2nd, someone I have known for 38 years was accused of the reported act. I am not surprised by the local communities "Stand Behind Your Local Accused Citizen" response. It’s called denial, “No, it’s not possible.” I do not agree with the attitude that the Community is displaying by implying the Child is being untruthful. If it were your child and they came forward, would you accuse them of being untruthful? Would you discourage a Child, any Child, not just your own, from coming forward if such an act occurred? What if you had been the Child? Would you want to be disbelieved if you came forward after such an act occurred? I don't think so. But then, I may be wrong. Please say that out loud to yourself, "I may be wrong." That just may be the beginning of making an admission, one that helps you realize the Child should come First...
  • by zobub Location: ardmore on Nov 17, 2009 at 03:39 PM
    I know him, too, and I never saw any indication. No matter what the circumstances, though, the poor child needs help. She needs counseling, a way to cope with her situation. We need to be in prayer for all involved, for this affects more than these two people. Two families have been blown apart.
  • by Casi Location: Fannin Co. on Nov 17, 2009 at 02:19 PM
    To Hang-em & Columbian - do not lump all believers in the class of "religion" - the two are not mutually exclusive. Religion does not make me a Christian, belief in Christ does. Your remarks are offensive and bigoted.
  • by Dave Location: Sherman on Nov 17, 2009 at 02:07 PM
    Let's see, where would a thief go? where the money is; where would a shopper go? Walmart; Where would you find a child molester? hum-m
  • by Anonymous on Nov 17, 2009 at 11:02 AM
    "the only acceptable sex is with a consenting adult"..... When that became true, it was the beginning of the deterioration of moral values. Sex outside of marriage is called fornication/adultry. Both should be held as unacceptable! We have been warned of the consequences. Reap what you sow! It ain't over till it's over. Nothing is new under the sun. All has been done before. All who dance must pay the fiddler!
  • by Scalawag Location: OK on Nov 17, 2009 at 10:38 AM
    I'm no fan of organized religion, but to assume that he is(or isn't) guilty on the basis of his faith is wrong. We must assume that people are innocent until proven guilty.
  • by for Anonymous Location: bonham on Nov 17, 2009 at 09:50 AM
    you must also be a child predator to have made such a remark about the only acceptable sex ... "the only acceptable sex is with a consenting adult"..... that should have been your comment and then you wouldn't have exposed yourself as the child molester you obviously are.
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