Volunteer charged with indecency with child

FT. BEND COUNTY, TX A former Fort Bend school district worker has been arrested and accused of preying on children. Gerald Lee Downing is also known as "Mr. Jay." He is charged with enticing a child and indecency with a child. Investigators believe he may have molested three children that there possibly could be more victims.

Downing, 21, was fired by Fort Bend ISD in February 2009, school officials say for acting "unprofessionally in his role" after he gave a student a birthday present. He had been assistant site coordinator of Mission Glen Elementary's after-school program. Fort Bend ISD says upon terminating Downing it had no evidence of any inappropriate contact between him and students and he was allowed to come back to the school and volunteer.

Fort Bend County Sheriff's Office Chief Craig Brady said, "What brought this case to light was some very observant employees of Fort Bend ISD."

In November, staff caught Downing in the bathroom with a student. Upon questioning, that student's younger brother admitted Downing had touched him inappropriately. Now investigators believe Downing molested not just that youngest boy, but his two older brothers. Their mother had three words for what Downing, who had been tutoring her three children, allegedly did to them.

"Sick. Sick. Sick," she said.

This mother spoke publicly only because investigators fear there could be many more victims.

She said, "I strongly suggest that you talk to your kids."

Downing also worked at Holley Elementary. He worked for a year at the Kids 'R' Kids near FM 1464 in Bellaire, quitting in September. Investigators say he also befirended children and their parents in youth baseball and football leagues.

The district says it conducted background checks on Downing prior to employment and his volunteer work. Each time they say they found no criminal history. The district says its "application process is not linked to an applicant's employment history" and its now looking at potentially changing that.

In the meantime, some parents are calling for harsh punishment.

"They ought to hang the guy," said concerned parent Vincent Orlando. "They ought to hang him!"

Downing's parents did not respond to Eyewitness News requests for comment. One of his neighbors said he hestitates to believe the allegations, though he fears they could be true.

If you have any information which can help investigators in this case, you're urged to contact the Fort Bend County Sheriff's Office at 281-341-4685.

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