A federal district judge in Dallas sentenced a former Whitesboro band director to 14 years in prison Thursday.


Court records for the North District of Texas showed that James Earl Cude, 55, pleaded guilty to one count of receiving child pornography in September. A statement from the U.S. Attorney for the North District of Texas said that Cude faced up to 20 years in prison after the plea.


Spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the North District of Texas Erin Dooley said that Cude will face seven years of supervised release once he gets out of prison.


A story in the Dallas Morning News Thursday afternoon said the prosecutor in the case, Assistant U.S. Attorney Camille Sparks said Cude was, “every parent’s nightmare.” She added, “He is a wolf in sheep’s clothing.”


The DMN article said that under questioning in the case, Cude said he had a “sexual and pornographic addiction” that had ruined his life.


Prosecutors said he sought out young children. The age of the people depicted in photos found on Cude’s phone became a center point in the sentencing hearing. The government argued that many of them were underage while a Cude’s attorney Craig Jett argued that all but one of the 11 photos found on Cude’s phone were of people 18 or older. In an email Thursday, Jett said there was no evidence of any young people ever reporting being abused by Cude.


Previously published reports said that Cude, who previously worked for Whitesboro ISD for 16 years, was arrested after he allegedly sent “sexually graphic messages” to an undercover police officer posing as a 13-year-old boy on a dating app. At the time of his arrest, Cude was serving as the band director for North Mesquite High School, but was quickly put on administrative leave.


At the time of his arrest, The North Mesquite High School website stated Cude had 32 years of teaching experience and was hired as the school’s band director in 2018. His bio on the website for the Association of Texas Small School Bands, for which he was listed as immediate past-president, stated Cude served as band director at Whitesboro High School from 2002 until the site was update in August of 2018.


The ATSSB bio also stated Cude was the contemporary music pastor and a deacon at the First Baptist Church of Whitesboro. The church’s website previously listed Cude as a worship pastor but his image and name was removed from the website after news of his arrest spread.


Cude led the WHS marching bands to back to back championships in 2013 and 2015.


A spokesperson for FBC of Whitesboro this week said the church would not have comment after the sentencing. The Whitesboro school district did not immediately return an email seeking a statement about the sentencing.