Updated: Thursday, 08 Sep 2011, 5:54 PM MDT
Published : Thursday, 08 Sep 2011, 5:09 PM MDT
ROSWELL, N.M. (KRQE) - Roswell Police have been investigating David Lawrence for some time now for allegedly having sexual relations with a student.
Thursday morning he turned himself in and was booked into jail.
Lawrence, 48, is charged for his alleged contact with the 16-year-old student at Goddard High School.
The teacher and coach is charged with one count of criminal sexual contact with a minor.
One former Goddard student who graduated last year said Lawrence had been a topic of conversation when she was a student..
"Even when I went to school, they would always say that he was you know, no offense or anything, but perverted, you know with the girls because he was always touching them and talking to them a lot," Concepcion Ortega recalled.
Other Goddard students who were interviewed by police said the same thing.
In the criminal complaint, those students also told police about the close relationship Lawrence had with one female student in particular, the alleged victim in this case.
One 16-year old said, "It has been a prolonged thing, and they've kissed and had the touching and...(the victim told her) they've had sexual intercourse."
Another girl said, "She'd seen a lot of things like walking by her; he will slap her butt, like it is so discreet, no one really notices," of the relations she observed between the student and Lawrence.
Ortega said she also suspected it.
"It seemed very suspicious, but I knew it was going to end up being that girl, because when I was in 12th grade last year, I would always see her hugging him," Ortega said.
Lawrence has taught health classes at Goddard since 1995, and in that class he taught sex-ed.
He also coached boys soccer.
"I just think that it was very inappropriate, especially since for health class, he was the one telling us not to have sex or STDs and stuff like that, and he's doing that with a student," Ortega said. "That's just very gross and disrespectful, especially to the students because he's supposed to be the role model and instead he's doing things with the student."
Lawrence was put on paid leave on Aug. 26 when the Roswell Independent School District learned of the criminal investigation.
The superintendent's office said in a written statement, "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 accordingly to it's policies and applicable law."
Lawrence was booked Thursday morning at the Chaves County Detention Center on a $250,000 bond.
The courts dropped it to $100,000 cash or surety, which he posted and was released.
A Roswell police spokesperson declined to comment on whether the alleged victim was cooperating with investigators.
The District Attorney's office said if prosecutors can prove Lawrence had sex with the girl, they will charge him with rape of a minor, but the case is still under investigation.