A teacher at a Valencia County High School has been arrested and charged with criminal sexual contact of a minor and false imprisonment.
Lawrence Larson, 50, of Los Lunas, was arrested and charged on Friday, Feb. 14, after allegedly touching a 16-year-old female Valencia High School student between her legs.
Larson is identified as a teacher in the affidavit for the arrest warrant from the New Mexico State Police, but he is listed as a substitute teacher on the VHS website’s staff directory.
According to Larson’s Facebook page, he’s been a substitute with Los Lunas Schools since July 2019.
In a written statement, Los Lunas Schools Superintendent Dana Sanders said the district was made aware of the incident on Thursday, Feb. 13.
The statement from Sanders identified Larson as a substitute teacher and assistant coach.
“An immediate investigation was initiated by the district,” Sanders wrote. “At the point in the investigation that it was clear that the allegations were that of inappropriate touching, the New Mexico State Police were immediately contacted. The investigation was then turned over to them. The individual is no longer employed by the district.”
According to the affidavit, the student disclosed to officers that Larson touched her twice between her legs while they were in a classroom at the high school on Thursday, Feb. 13.
She told the investigating officer she felt uncomfortable and went to the weight room, which was connected to the classroom. Larson followed her and pushed her to the ground, where he grabbed her breast and held her down, the affidavit says.
The student told officers she managed to get up and tried to leave, but Larson allegedly grabbed her from behind and held her back, saying, “I won’t touch your breast because I know you’ll slap me.”
As she left the weight room, Larson also allegedly slapped her buttocks.
“(She) was asked if she felt as if Larson was holding her back, preventing her from leaving … to which she said yes,” NMSP officer Lawrence Guzzardo wrote in the affidavit.
Officers also interviewed Larson, who, according to the affidavit, confessed to touching the breast area of the girl with a closed hand, and her hip and thigh area with his knee and elbow.
Larson has been in custody at the Valencia County Detention Center since Friday, Feb 14.
According to court documents, Larson is scheduled to appear in Los Lunas Magistrate Court at 1 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 18, for a review of his conditions of release.
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