Ken Paxton

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Attorney General Abbott's Cyber Crimes Unit Arrests Pflugerville Teacher In Online Child Predator Sting

AUSTIN - Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott’s Cyber Crimes Unit today arrested a Pflugerville man who used the Internet to solicit sex from someone he thought was a child. Dwayne Allen Lawhon, 27, was arrested in Bastrop when he showed up to meet the person he solicited online, who was actually an undercover Cyber Crimes investigator with the Texas Attorney General’s office.

The arrest of a substitute teacher for preying on young children is especially troubling, Attorney General Abbott said. We must all be vigilant in making sure our children are protected from these predators. Our Cyber Crimes investigators are committed to tracking down these child predators and putting them behind bars.

Lawhon, who is employed by the Pflugerville Independent School District as a substitute teacher, arranged the meeting through an online chat room. He was charged with criminal attempt sexual assault of a child and criminal attempt sexual performance by a child. Both charges are third-degree felonies. Lawhon was being held in the Bastrop County Jail on bonds totaling $100,000.

Lawhon is the third teacher to be arrested since Attorney General Abbott started the Cyber Crimes Unit in March 2003. Raymond Maurice Landry, Jr., 52, was arrested October 5, 2005, in McAllen after he allegedly purchased a bus ticket for a girl he thought was 13-years-old who was to travel to McAllen for the purposes of having sex. Landry was a professor at UT-Pan America in Edinburg, and his case is pending. Todd Cline, 42, of Hutto, was arrested June 8, 2004, after he traveled to San Marcos to have sex with what he thought was a child he met online. At the time of his arrest, Cline was a special education teacher with the Round Rock Independent School District. Cline pleaded guilty to attempted coercion and enticement of a minor. He was sentenced to five years in federal prison and must register as a sex offender for life.

Cracking down on sexual predators is a top priority of Attorney General Abbott’s administration. His Cyber Crimes and Fugitive units have arrested more than 360 sexual predators since he took office in December 2002. The Fugitive Unit, which locates convicted child sex offenders who have violated the terms of their parole and could be stalking children, has arrested 257 of these parolees. The Fugitive Unit has also arrested another 54 men and women in other operations. The Cyber Crimes Unit has made 70 arrests to date.