Teacher accused of online solicitation of teen

September 27, 2010 5:14:04 PM PDT
A second middle school teacher in Conroe ISD has been charged with trying to solicit a child for sex while online. Now concern is building among parents about who is instructing their children in the classroom. Both men were arrested by undercover officers posing as underage minors, and now they both face charges. Prosecutors say they do not believe the two cases are related.

The most recent arrest involves a teacher at Peet Junior High School in Conroe. They say Michael Crawley, 30, allegedly displayed lewd pictures of himself in different stages of undress and also solicited the undercover officer for online-based sexual activity. Investigators involved in undercover chat operations say Crawley entered into an online chat with a person whom he believed was a 13-year-old girl.

At Peet Junior High Monday, business was usual, except that Crawley was in jail instead of inside his classroom. Parents were sent a note telling them that the special education teacher was charged with trying to solicit a minor online.

"It's concerning any time, but it happened and they let us know as quickly as I can. That's all we can expect them to do," said parent Sandy Bernard.

At Crawley's quiet Spring area subdivision where he lives with his wife, neighbors were shocked by his arrest.

"Surprised, yea, I'm very surprised," said neighbor Julie Gulick.

"I find it almost impossible to believe. I'm shocked," said neighbor Carolyn Matthews. "They are good neighbors. They're very nice people."

This is the second teacher arrested from Conroe ISD. A few weeks ago, Thomas Vickers, another junior high teacher in the district, was also arrested for online solicitation of a minor. The school district says both teachers passed background checks, but says the latest incident will cause them to look at their screening procedures again.

"We have approximately 3,000 employees who are teachers. Yes, we believe it's an anomaly, but it's something that we take seriously," said Cathy Clark of Conroe ISD.

The man prosecuting both cases says the best protection for children are well informed and watchful parents.

"Power up your computer, spend some time playing with it, get comfortable with it yourself. If you're comfortable with it, you can watch what your kids do," said Asst. District Attorney Eric Devlin.

Crawley was taken into custody without incident and placed into the Harris County Jail. He faces two counts of online solicitation of a minor, a second-degree felony due to under age 14 solicitation. Bond has been set at $250,000 on each count.

Conroe ISD did terminate Vickers' teaching contract last week and could do so with Crawley pending the outcome of an internal investigation.


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