LOS LUNAS – The father of a Valencia high school student who was allegedly sexually assaulted by a former substitute teacher in 2020 has filed a civil lawsuit against the Los Lunas school board, along with several district administrators.
Lawsuit Alleges Los Lunas School Board, as an organization, as well as appointees, knew that Lawrence Larson, 51, of Meadow Lake, was a danger to “vulnerable women” due to previous allegations sexual assault and failed to protect the 16-year-old student and Larson’s student body.
The lawsuit was filed on May 28, and Los Lunas Schools’ August 10 response denies all of the allegations made in the 21-page file.
In February 2020, Larson was charged with criminal sexual contact with a minor and false imprisonment. According to the costume, Larson told New Mexico State Police officers that he touched the girl’s chest with a closed hand, and her hips and thighs with his knee and elbow.
The criminal charges against Larson were dismissed without prejudice – meaning the criminal charges can be filed at a later date – on June 25, 2020, because the 13th Judicial District Attorney’s Office planned to take the case to a large court. jury.
The case was not presented to a grand jury because after further examination by the prosecutor’s office, it was determined that there was insufficient evidence to prove the allegations beyond a doubt. reasonable at the moment, said Jessica Martinez, chief assistant prosecutor.
Even though the case began in 2020, the decision was made after prosecutor Barbara Romo took office, Martinez said.
“Ms. Romo believes that we, as prosecutors, have a legal and ethical obligation to protect the rights of both victims and the accused,” she said. “Take away someone’s freedom without appropriate evidence goes against our obligation to seek justice for all. ”
In addition to the education council as a body, other parties named in the civil lawsuit are the five now permanently suspended council members – Bryan Smith, Eloy Jiron, Steven Otero, David Vickers and Frank Otero – LLS Superintendent Arsenio Romero, VHS Principal Albert Aragon, VHS Assistant Director Joann Carter and LLS Sporting Director Wilson Holland.
Romero was hired as a superintendent in January of this year, after Larson was indicted. Aragon and Carter were the principal and deputy principal of VHS respectively during the 2019-2020 school year. Holland has been the district athletic director since 2013.
At the time of Larson’s arrest in 2020, LLS Superintendent Dana Sanders released a written statement saying Larson was no longer a district employee. Larson worked for Los Lunas Schools from 2010 to 2011 and was rehired in September 2015 before being fired in February 2020.
According to the civil lawsuit, during the 2018-19 school year, the girl saw Larson on a daily basis and he told her about his personal life, which led her to see him as a friend. Larson spoke to the 16-year-old like he was pursuing a romantic relationship with her, the suit claims, recounting that he once told her, “If I wasn’t married, you’re the kind of girl. who I would date. “
Larson was also hugging female students at school, according to the civil lawsuit claims, and on at least one occasion, during a hug, the girl felt his erection through her sweatpants.
The lawsuit claims that the defendants failed to perform their duties and failed to protect the girl and the rest of the student body, creating dangerous conditions at the school.
The lawsuit against the school district alleges parents alerted high school and district staff to the 2008 lawsuit against Larson.
He left the coaching job after being told by other coaches that he would not be allowed to continue because parents were going to remove their children from sports programs, according to the most recent filing.
This is the second civil lawsuit brought by the girl’s father regarding the alleged assault. A civil lawsuit was filed against Larson as an individual on June 10, 2020, which was referred to United States District Court in July of that year and is still pending.
Although Larson does not have a criminal history, he has been charged with sexual assault in the past, a situation the latest trial alleges the district was aware of and ignored.
A civil lawsuit filed in federal court by Daveri Pacheco in 2008 alleges that Larson coerced, intimidated and threatened her into having sex with him at least six times between August 11 and September 11, 2007, when ‘she was being held in Valencia County. Detention Center and Larson was a guard.
He worked at the VCDC from January 2005 to September 2007. The civil lawsuit against LLS indicates that Larson was a college football coach for the district while working at the prison. Larson voluntarily left VCDC after investigating the allegations, which Larson denied in Pacheco’s trial response.
According to the settlement agreement provided by the county, Pacheco settled $ 25,000 with the county for his “pain and suffering.”
The most recent lawsuit also alleges that Holland rehired Larson a few years later, even though he was aware of the charges against Larson about inappropriate sexual contact with an inmate.