Former Big Country band director arrested for online solicitation of a minor

    James Earl Cude

    A former Big Country band director has been arrested for online solicitation of a minor.

    James Earl Cude, 54, was arrested on February 6 and posted $15,000 bail the following morning.

    Cude is accused of using an app, Grindr, to try to meet a 13-year-old boy for sex. Cude, according to police, described how he wanted to perform sex acts on the boy.

    Dallas Police say he was actually communicating with a detective. The two agreed to meet at a Lakewood restaurant, which is where Cude was arrested.

    Cude was currently a band director at North Mesquite High School, and has taught for three decades.

    According to the Texas Education Agency, Cude taught 14 years at Big Country school districts: at Roscoe ISD from 1988-1993, at Hamlin ISD from 1993-2000 and at Breckenridge ISD from 2000-2002.

    Cude is on administrative leave from Mesquite Independent School District pending the outcome of the investigation.

    Mesquite ISD released the following statement about Cude:

    "We have notified parents of all students at NMHS as well as parents of band students at our middle schools. On rare occasions, our high school directors work with our middle school bands. Mesquite ISD was shocked and deeply troubled to learn of Mr. Cude’s arrest in this case. Per district policy, he has been placed on administrative leave. Our foremost focus is on the well-being and emotional health of our students and the outstanding administrators, faculty and other staff members who teach and support them every day. The district and our entire community are very proud of the Big Blue Band, and we will not allow this disturbing turn of events to tarnish the stellar reputation of the NMHS band program."

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