A Goddard High School teacher turned himself into police Thursday morning after a warrant was issued for his arrest late Wednesday. The teacher, David Lawrence, 48, is charged with criminal sexual contact of a minor.
Lawrence has taught health at Goddard for the past 17 years. He also coached girls’ softball and boys’ [auth] soccer.
The arrest follows a lengthy investigation by the Roswell Police Department, following allegations of sexual misconduct by a student.
According to the criminal complaint, the allegations were first leveled on Aug. 25, when Principal Andrew Sweet reported to the RPD that he had received notification of “multiple sexual contacts” between Lawrence and a 17-year-old student.
The complaint states, “He (Sweet) went to the soccer field and grabbed Coach Lawrence.” Later, a uniformed officer “arrived to transport Mr. Lawrence to the Roswell Police Department.”
The court records also state that the female victim confided to a teacher about a sexual incident between herself and Lawrence, an allegation, which the student recanted during the initial interviews by police.
However, as the investigation progressed she stated that she and Lawrence had fondled each other through clothing. At least one of the alleged incidents was purported to have taken place in Lawrence’s home when his wife and children were not at home.
Roswell Police Chief Alfonso Solis said last week that the case was much more involved than originally anticipated. “The investigators have more interviews to conduct, and the investigation will probably continue into next week, at which time they would turn the information over to the District Attorney’s Office to see if criminal charges would be filed.”
Detectives interviewed more than 52 individuals during the course of the investigation, many of them students. Court records state that several individuals confirmed they “had heard rumors.” At least one witness statement indicated that Lawrence had exhibited “if not inappropriate, highly questionable behavior toward the female students.”
In a prepared statement, Michael Gottlieb, superintendent of the Roswell Independent School District, wrote, “RISD does not comment on personnel matters. At the same time, parents and the community should know that RISD takes these types of allegations very seriously. RISD will be reviewing the matter closely and will respond according to its policies and applicable law.”
Lawrence is being held on a $250,000 cash or surety bond. By 9 a.m. Thursday, Lawrence’s attorney, S. Doug Jones Witt, had filed a motion to review conditions of release, asking for a reduction of the bond. The motion states: “The allegations are not of an on-going nature in that the Defendant has been accused of one-count of Criminal Sexual Contact of a Minor.”
In addition, the motion noted that the “Defendant is currently on administrative leave from his position as teacher with Goddard High School and would not pose a threat to any other students.”