GEORGETOWN, Texas - The investigation by the Georgetown Police Department was launched on Veterans Day. By the end of the week, Richard Wayne Malley was in the Williamson County jail, charged with online solicitation of a minor.
He was arrested because the mother of a 14-year-old boy spotted something suspicious on her son’s phone.
“Thank goodness a parent was paying attention. Thank goodness a parent got into the phone, found this information,” said Georgetown Police Captain Roland Waits.
According to court documents, Malley and the 14-year-old met on a computer website promoted as a place for gay and bisexual men to hook up. The two allegedly met twice, first at a church playground along Williams Drive, and then on a hiking trail where some inappropriate touching took place.
“He is a predator, and thank goodness we caught him, this young man trying to figure things out for himself, we are ok with that, figure that out, that’s not a problem. It’s when somebody starts to target you and potentially victimize you, that’s what we have a problem with,” said Waits who emphasized the crime was about the age difference.
Investigators say Malley knew he was dealing with a minor because of the text messages they recovered from the teenager's phone. In one conversation Malley allegedly wrote:
“ tell me honestly are you really 16 because you look a lot younger than that.”
Another conversation continued to focus on age:
Malley: I may have to break my own rule.
Victim: what rule
Malley: Playing with under age.
Malley was also concerned the teenager was a student with the Georgetown Independent School District which he worked for. When the teen said he was homeschooled, Malley responded:
“Hmmmm. That could be a loophole. I do know that I am not able to play with any student of any district.”
“He is making a conscious effort to make sure people know that, but in his next breath he says I may need to break my own rule, so that takes the investigation beyond just Georgetown ISD, it takes it community-wide,” said Waits.
Malley started working for Georgetown ISD seven years ago, driving a school bus for special needs children. A background check was done before he got behind the wheel and up till now, the school district received no complaints about him.
Investigators do not believe Malley had inappropriate contact with any of the 23 children he drove to school, but a spokesperson for the school district says all the parents were contacted. A letter was also sent to every parent in the school district notifying them about Malley’s arrest and that he was immediately placed on administrative leave pending an indictment.
Georgetown police and state investigators are also doing some outreach.
“And they don’t stop, just because we arrest,” said Capt. Waits.
On the hookup website, several other men made contact with the teenager. Efforts to identify them are currently underway.