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Former juvenile probation officer charged after child sex sting

By Scott Zoltan, KECI Reporter, szoltan@keci.com
Published On: Jan 09 2014 10:30:12 PM MST
Updated On: Jan 09 2014 10:33:43 PM MST

A former juvenile probation officer who worked in Mineral County was one of seven suspects who had been arrested recently in a Missoula-area online child sex sting. Officers had created a fake online advertisement, from a fake woman offering a 12-year-old girl up for a sexual encounter.

54-year-old James Stewart Myers was taken into custody on December 18, and charged with a Felony Sexual Abuse of Children.

Court documents claim Myers gave $100 to an undercover officer as pre-payment for the would-be sexual encounter. Court records say Myers was told he had a choice of a 15-year-old or 12–year-old girl, and chose a 12-year-old. He was then taken into custody.

Officials have confirmed to NBC Montana that Myers worked as a juvenile probation officer in Mineral County for about seven years before retiring about six months ago. Officials say Myers left on good terms.

Chief Juvenile Probation Officer Glen Welch tells NBC Montana he is conducting an investigation into Myers’ time as a probation officer to ensure that there weren’t problems with the kids he oversaw. Welch told NBC Montana that he was a good employee in his time as an officer, but couldn’t comment further, as the investigation is ongoing.

NBC Montana spoke with Beth McLaughlin, the court administrator with the Montana Judicial Branch, about the hiring process for probation officers. She couldn’t comment on Myers’ hiring specifically, but did explain the hiring process. She told NBC Montana that when someone applies for a job within the state court system, they are subject to two different kinds of background checks. One involves standard work references from previous employers, and the other involves the entering of an applicant’s name into a national criminal background check system.

“If there is information on the criminal background check that would indicate that the person has a conviction that would prevent them from working for the court system then they would not be hired or an offer for employment would be rescinded,” said McLaughlin.  

McLaughlin also said that to her knowledge, there hasn’t been a problem with children on probation in Mineral County, but folks with information that they would like to contribute to the review process should get in touch with law enforcement.

Prior to his employment as a Montana juvenile probation officer, Myers worked as a deputy in San Bernardino County.