A part-time Metro Nashville public school tutor has resigned as Metro Police Sex Crimes detectives investigate inappropriate text messages he sent to a 12-year-old boy.
The boy is a student at Joelton Middle School and Hurst sent him messages via Facebook and texting.
Arthur Brent Hurst, 60, of Whites Creek was reported to authorities by the boy's family.
“Luckily, the mother checks Facebook every day,” a relative said, who will not be identified to protect the victim's identity. “One night when she was checking it, she noticed he was telling the student to change his contact name so his parents wouldn't know who he is communicating with.”
Then the boy's mother saw something even more troubling.
“There was also a mention about picking him up on the weekends. Another red flag,” the relative said. “That night we knew we had to go to the police department and report it to them.”
According to Metro police, detectives from the Sex Crimes Unit took over the student's Facebook page and continued to chat with Hurst over the course of several days.
Hurst did not know he was chatting with a detective instead of the 12-year-old.
During the chat sessions, Hurst allegedly engaged in extremely graphic sexual chats.
In a transcript of the chats, provided by the boy's family, Hurst asked the boy about his genitalia, sexual activity and described his own sexual encounters with both men and women.
Police said Hurst admitted to sending the messages during questioning.
No one came to the door when Nashville's News 2 went to Hurst's home.
The District Attorney General's Office decided not to file charges against Hurst because there was no evidence that he sent lewd images or solicited the boy for a sexual encounter.
According to an incident report, Hurst also denied having child pornography, though he would not consent to a search of his computer by police.
“It was obvious he knew what he was doing,” the relative said. “When we had to go over some of the stuff with the boy after it was over, there was very little stuff we could show him.”
The family member said the boy is coping very well with the situation.
The family wants other parents to be aware of Hurst's activity in the hopes of preventing him from contacting other children or possibly encourage others to come forward if they have had similar contacts with Hurst.
“Facebook is a real good tool for the predator to contact kids at night,” the relative said. “Who knows if there are victims in the past or in the future?”
Police notified MNPS human resource officials who began their own investigation.
Hurst resigned his part time position when MNPS started investigating.
MNPS said Hurst had retired from teaching, but returned as a part-time employee.
He was also an adjunct instructor at Vanderbilt University's Teaching and Learning Department until May 2012.