Weatherford Democrat

April 10, 2013

Suspect in child molestation case faces new charge

Stringer arrested on child sexual assault charge stemming from Sweetwater complaint


Weatherford Democrat

— By CHRISTIN COYNE

A suspect in a Parker County child molestation case who investigators say posed as a youth-pastor-in-training was recently arrested on an additional charge involving another child, raising concern from some parents about the man’s contact with other children.

Ethan Charles Stringer, 22, was arrested March 28 in Weatherford on a Nolan County charge of sexual assault of a child, jail records indicate, and was held on $100,000 bond before being transported to Nolan County. 

The Sweetwater Police Department declined to release any information Tuesday other than to confirm Stringer had been arrested.

However, Parker County Assistant District Attorney Robert DuBoise confirmed that authorities charged Stringer with indecency with a child in an incident that is believed to have occurred prior to the Parker County incident. 

Delayed outcries are not unusual in child sexual assault cases, according to DuBoise.

Stringer was reported to be involved with the junior rodeo in Nolan County at the time.

The mother of the Parker County boy, who the Democrat is not naming to avoid identifying an alleged sexual assault victim, said she is concerned that Stringer may have sexually abused other boys, as well. 

The mother told Weatherford detectives that her son met Stringer about six months prior and Stringer told her that he was studying to be a youth pastor.

The mother reported that Stringer told her he would watch over the boy, who was 13 years old at the time, would not let anything happen to him and “would keep him ‘on the right path,’” according to police.

Stringer reportedly spent the night with the family in April 2012 and was planning to go to church with the boy Easter morning.

However, the boy told his mother that Stringer entered his room and molested him during the night, according to the probable cause affidavit.

Her son was devastated after the incident, the boy’s mother told the Democrat, adding that he couldn’t go in his room at first and she had to sell his bed.

Though Stringer claimed to have attended Trinity Christian Academy, according to the Parker County boy’s mother, school officials said he did not.

Stringer may have accompanied a former school coach, who had taken Stringer under his wing, to help out during practices but Stringer never officially volunteered with or worked for the school, school administrator Michael Skaggs said.

Stringer reportedly volunteered for a brief time at Trinity Bible Church.

Asked about Stringer’s role and time with the church, Executive Pastor Judd Vier declined to comment and said information had been turned over to police.

The church has an extensive volunteer policy and potential volunteers must fill out an application and go through an interview process and background check, according to Vier. A background check was completed on Stringer, he said.