Ric Tinney

The former executive director of Hope Child Advocacy Center was arrested last week at his home in Goliad by federal authorities.

Ric Tinney, 63, resigned from his position after the center’s board of directors was told he was the subject of an Arlington Police Department criminal investigation, said Chief J.J. Craig of the Victoria Police Department, who is the current president of the center’s board of directors.

Tinney was arrested Thursday by the U.S. Marshals Service on warrants accusing him of publishing or threatening to publish intimate visual material and online impersonation in the form of using a name or persona to create a web page.

Intimate visual material is defined in the Texas Penal Code as “depicting another person with the person’s intimate parts exposed or engaged in sexual conduct.”

He had served as the center’s director since 2013, when the nonprofit reopened and refocused to serve abused children.

Among many services, the center provides a place for a growing number of local children to voice their experiences of sexual, physical and mental abuse with forensic interviewers that can be used in investigations and in court.

The alleged crimes did not involve Tinney’s position and Megan Burow, a lead forensic interviewer at the center, was named the interim executive director while the board searches for a new executive director, Craig said.

“This resignation and transition will not impact the Hope mission in serving the community,” he said in an email. “The board and I are very confident in the staff in continuing operations during this transition.”

The other charged filed against Tinney, online impersonation, is defined as using the name or persona of another person without consent to harm, defraud, intimidate or threaten any person by creating a web page and posting or sending messages on or through a social networking site, webpage, electronic mail program or message board.

A person can also be accused of online impersonation if they communicate referencing identification information belonging to another person without consent, and with the intent to harm or defraud a person or cause the recipient of that communication to believe that the real person authorized or made the communication.

Max Hernandez, a spokesman for the U.S. Marshals Service, said officials forced entry into Tinney’s home last Thursday because they knew he was inside and would not answer the door. The marshals served the warrant at the request of the Arlington Police Department, he said.

Officials with the Arlington Police Department did not return calls Wednesday about the case.

Tinney was booked into the Goliad County Jail and released a day later after posting bond, said Capt. John Pape, chief deputy of the Goliad County Sheriff’s Office. The bond amount was not available.

“If he was released, then he is on the streets, as far as I know,” Hernandez said about Tinney’s whereabouts.

Tinney could not be reached for comment by Wednesday night.

Advocate reporter Jon Wilcox contributed to this story.

Kali Venable is a public safety reporter for the Victoria Advocate. She can be reached at 361-580-6558 or at kvenable@vicad.com.

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Investigative & Environmental Reporter

"I am a Houston native and 5th generation Texan, with a degree in journalism and minor in creative writing from the University of Texas at Austin. I care deeply about public interests and the community I serve.”

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