The Secretary of Education of the New Mexico Public Education Department revoked former teacher and Goddard High School coach David Lawrence’s license to teach. Lawrence was charged with criminal sexual contact, following a series of incidents that occurred during the period of October 2010 through February 2011. Lawrence was accused of participating in flirtatious behavior with the 17-year-old victim Kayla Powell and then let her into his home after the Roswell-Goddard basketball game.
According to the Decision and Order, Finding of Facts issued on Friday by PED, Morgan Lyman who presided at the December 2012 hearing found, “Ms. Powell’s version of the events at the licensure hearing is truthful and that she is a credible witness.”
Meanwhile, Lyman reported that Lawrence was not credible. The document cited as an example Lawrence’s denial that he had given Powell his phone number, but admitted receiving texts from her. The document states, “The Respondent’s (Lawrence’s) credibility is questioned. His testimony appears to be self-serving.
The document repeated much that had been heard during the trial, including the fact that Lawrence never reported Powell’s attempts to get his attention to school authorities and much of the “inappropriate behavior” was witnessed by other students.
Lyman’s conclusions were that statutes permitted him to “… deny, suspect or revoke a department-issued license for incompetency, moral turpitude or any other good and just cause.”
Lawrence was tried in Chaves County District Court. He was acquitted on May 11, 2012. Unlike a jury trial where evidence must convince the jury that a defendant is guilty beyond “reasonable doubt,” the competency hearing viewed the case from “preponderance of evidence.”
Lyman felt that the weight of the evidence presented at the hearing was sufficient to indicate that Lawrence had violated standards of professional conduct which prohibit his making “repeated sexual references and physical conduct or conduct of a physical nature even when the educator believes the student consents ….”
The document states that once the license was revoked Lawrence could not teach in any public school in the state of New Mexico.