ROSWELL, N.M. (KRQE) - A former high school teacher and coach accused and acquitted of sexual contact with a student is now facing a federal lawsuit.
The lawsuit filed by the former Goddard High School student claims David Lawrence and the Roswell Board of Education violated the 14th Amendment, which guarantees her equal protection under the law.
It's been more than five months since Lawrence was found not guilty of having sexual contact with the then-17-year old student.
Lawrence spoke with KRQE News 13 back in May about plans to teach again.
"There's not a lot of people that every day, they can wake up in the morning and say they love to go to work," Lawrence said at the time. "I did that for 17 years. I woke up every morning and I'd love to go to work, teaching and coaching was a passion of mine."
Lawrence had been on trial for allegations the female student made about the two kissing and touching each other.
The 23-page suit claims she was ostracized by fellow students after Lawrence's arrest and that she "continues to suffer emotional distress, humiliation, and psychological injuries."
It also accuses the Roswell Independent School District and Goddard High of tolerating inappropriate sexual behavior. The lawsuit claims teachers and students retaliated against the girl when her allegations became public and that the school should have remedied the hostile environment.
Lawrence's lawyer, S. Doug Jones Witt, also spoke with News 13 about the sexual accusations back in May.
"For teachers, for anybody who works with children, day care people, the reality is we live in a world where people are falsely accused," Jones Witt said.
On Thursday, Jones Witt told News 13 he believes this lawsuit is money-driven. He said the former student showed she was untruthful in court when she changed her story and that his client will fight the lawsuit.
He also said his client is looking forward to teaching again. News 13 asked RISD for comment but has not heard back.
Since the trial, Lawrence has been teaching at Job Corps in Roswell but is still working on getting back his teaching credentials.
The former student is requesting a trial by jury for the lawsuit. The burden of proof is lower in a civil case compared to a criminal case, so even though Lawrence was acquitted, that jury's decision has no bearing on this case.
A District Court judge has ordered city leaders respond to a petition filed by an animal activist on the city's trap-neuter-return approach of managing feral cats.
Police responded to dozens of weather-related crashes in only a matter of hours Sunday.
A small plane crashed at about 8 a.m. Sunday morning on the Canyon Rim Trail near N.M. 502 and the entrance of Los Alamos.
Sunday night in Albuquerque and around the world people gathered for candlelight vigils to remember the loss of their children.
Department of Agriculture officials are warning customers to not get burned when buying firewood.
Church groups, parents and teachers met Sunday at the 20th annual Albuquerque Interfaith Convention. State education reform was their central focus.