BULLARD, TX (KLTV) - He swore to serve and protect but an East Texas police officer may soon be serving jail time.
Texas Rangers arrested Bullard police officer Steven Morris, 26, Thursday afternoon. The arrest came after, police say, Morris confessed to a sexual relationship with a 15-year-old girl.
According to the arrest affidavit, Morris began texting and talking to the teenager more than a year ago before it turned sexual.
Morris spent the past two and half years as part of the Bullard police force, both as a patrol and reserve officer.
Authorities say he had no prior problems on the job until this past spring when word spread of an inappropriate relationship he had with a Bullard High School student.
Police performed a brief internal investigation before turning to Texas Rangers for help.
Based on interviews with the victim, Morris was questioned and confessed to having sex with the girl.
"I hate it, you know, sometimes the public loses trust in us when that happens, in most cases, I think, and I certainly don't want that with the police department here," said Chief Gary Lewis, with the Bullard Police Department. "You don't want to think that someone you've hired and known who's involved in the community is involved in anything bad and when it happens it hurts us all."
Chief Lewis says that Morris was placed on paid suspension immediately after the rumors began. Following the Rangers investigation, he was fired in early June of this year.
Authorities say Bullard police officers rotate duties including managing traffic at the high school. Police say that, and occasional visits with the K-9 unit were the only times police duty put Morris near the school.
Morris remains in Gregg County Jail, charged with sexual assault of a child. His bond is set at $350,000.