Former Bluff Dale youth pastor goes on trial for online solicitation of a minor.
WARNING: Tuesday’s testimony in the trial of Ryan Ivy, charged with online solicitation of a minor, contained graphic testimony, which is included in the following story.
More than three years after a former youth minister at Bluff Dale Baptist Church was arrested for online solicitation of a minor, the trial of Ryan Ivy began Tuesday in the 266th Judicial District Court in Stephenville.
In opening statements to jurors, Erath County Assistant District Attorney Jett Smith said Ivy began communicating with the then 13-year-old girl in July 2020.
He said Ivy, who was 42 years old at the time, engaged in explicit sexual conversation with the child victim who was a cheerleader at Bluff Dale middle school, loved sports and had a lot of friends.
Ivy’s attorney Rob Christian wasted no time trying to place blame on the victim, saying although his client made “some mistakes,” it was the child who first initiated contact with Ivy.
JAW DROPPING TESTIMONY
Scott Pace, pastor of Bluff Dale Baptist Church, was the first person called to the stand on Tuesday.
He said in July 2020 he received a call from Ivy, who was the church youth pastor at the time, asking to meet with church officials.
He said Ivy told them that he had engaged in inappropriate messages with a minor.
“He tried to stop it, but it kept going. The indication I got was that it was a one-time thing,” Pace said on the stand. “I hurt for him; he was broken. He could hardly look at us.”
Pace said he never asked to see the messages between Ivy and the victim and refused to accept Ivy’s offer to resign.
“We didn’t feel like that was necessary,” Pace said, despite the fact that the victim was a member of the church’s youth group.
Instead, Pace said church leaders prayed for Ivy’s “healing,” failed to contact law enforcement and allowed Ivy to keep his job as youth pastor for two additional months.
Former Bluff Dale ISD superintendent John Taylor testified that Ivy, who also held a job with the district, resigned after admitting that he had inappropriate contact with a “girl” Taylor assumed was a student.
Following Ivy’s admission, Taylor said he called the “school lawyer,” then contacted Child Protective Services.
Lt. David Southerland with the Erath County Sheriff’s Office served as lead investigator in the case and testified that he found sexually explicit messages between the victim and Ivy on the victim’s iPad, which were displayed on a projector for jurors.
The exchanges appeared fairly innocent at first until the child sent Ivy a picture of herself wearing her cheerleading uniform.
“Those boys won’t stand a chance,” Ivy said.
Later, Ivy was the first to reference sex by saying, “Before I was married, I used to sleep around a lot… I’ve always had a pretty strong appetite.”
He also talked about engaging in a “three-way” with the child and said he once dated bikini models and a former Miss Texas.
“My absolute favorite thing is to have my eyes between Latina thighs,” Ivy stated in a message.
He said he was concerned the child’s mother would see the messages on her phone and that he would “go to jail.”
But that worry apparently wasn’t strong enough to deter him.
Ivy went on to talk about dreams of rough sex, hair pulling and oral sex.
At one point Ivy asked, “How long until your braces are off?” then promptly instructed the girl to delete the exchange.
Ivy looked down while Southerland read excerpts from the exchange, which ended with a panicked Ivy asking the victim to stop communicating with him.
Online solicitation of a minor is a second degree felony. If convicted, Ivy faces two to 20 years in prison.
Testimony is expected to resume on Wednesday morning.