Las Vegas Sun

January 27, 2015

Currently: 53° — Complete forecast | Log in | Create an account

Former student helped lead detectives to teacher in open lewdness case

 On April 27, 2012, the LVMPD Sexual Assault Detail arrested 35-year-old Timothy Lawson of Las Vegas. Lawson is charged with one count of Open and Gross Lewdness and one count of Indecent Exposure.

On April 27, 2012, the LVMPD Sexual Assault Detail arrested 35-year-old Timothy Lawson of Las Vegas. Lawson is charged with one count of Open and Gross Lewdness and one count of Indecent Exposure.

A former student helped identify the Cimarron-Memorial High School teacher arrested last week in connection with reports of public masturbation, according to a police report released Tuesday.

Timothy D. Lawson, a 35-year-old Las Vegas resident, has been charged with one count of open or gross lewdness and one count of indecent exposure stemming from incidents in June 2011, according to a criminal complaint filed last month. He was a teacher and assistant wrestling coach at Cimarron-Memorial.

The arrest report indicates Metro Police began receiving reports late last year about a black man masturbating and urinating in public, often while attempting to catch the attention of passers-by.

Police said they had received 11 reports since December about a black man masturbating in public near Lake Mead and Rainbow boulevards, which is less than a mile from Cimarron-Memorial.

On March 8, police received two similar reports within an hour, the report states: At 10:30 a.m., a caller reported a black man masturbating near a bus stop at Torrey Pines and Vegas drives. An hour later, another caller reported a suspect wearing similar clothing masturbating in the 6500 block of West Lake Mead Boulevard. Those locations are within a mile of each other.

The second caller provided detectives with enough information to create a composite sketch of the suspect, according to the arrest report.

Later that day, another person reported seeing a black man “partially naked, masturbating while sitting on a block wall at Torrey Pines and Vegas Drive,” according to the arrest report.

As police investigated, they recalled a similar pattern of incidents in 2007, which led to Lawson’s arrest in connection with seven events, according to the arrest report.

“The court hearings resulted in all cases being associated together and Lawson pleading to two disorderly conduct charges with counseling,” the arrest report states.

In the meantime, the investigation revealed that a woman had reported seeing Lawson, her former teacher at Cimarron-Memorial, masturbating while she walked to work last June, according to the arrest report.

In early April, detectives interviewed the former student, who recalled seeing and saying “hello” to Lawson as she walked to work one June morning on Rainbow Boulevard, the arrest report states. The next day, the former student was walking to work in the same area when she saw Lawson masturbating in an alley.

The witness told detectives the incident was “disturbing because (Lawson) didn’t seem to be concerned she could see him and continued to masturbate,” according to the arrest report.

Detectives also interviewed Joe Caruso, principal of Cimarron-Memorial, who said school police only recently became aware of the 2007 charges against Lawson despite a background check during his hiring process, according to the arrest report.

Lawson was at home on paid leave at the time of his arrest Friday, but it’s unclear when he was put on leave. A School District official didn’t know the exact date when asked Tuesday.

Police contacted Lawson March 17 and questioned him about the string of incidents, in which he denied involvement, the arrest report states. During the interview, Lawson told detectives he was on suspension from the school district for “unknown reasons,” according to the arrest report.

Police issued an arrest warrant April 13 for Lawson. Metro’s sexual assault detail arrested him Friday at an undisclosed location.

Join the Discussion:

Check this out for a full explanation of our conversion to the LiveFyre commenting system and instructions on how to sign up for an account.

Full comments policy

Previous Discussion: 9 comments so far…

Comments are moderated by Las Vegas Sun editors. Our goal is not to limit the discussion, but rather to elevate it. Comments should be relevant and contain no abusive language. Comments that are off-topic, vulgar, profane or include personal attacks will be removed. Full comments policy. Additionally, we now display comments from trusted commenters by default. Those wishing to become a trusted commenter need to verify their identity or sign in with Facebook Connect to tie their Facebook account to their Las Vegas Sun account. For more on this change, read our story about how it works and why we did it.

Only trusted comments are displayed on this page. Untrusted comments have expired from this story.

  1. The untrusted comments about this story are "Hands Down" the best I've ever seen on a Discussion Board (click the above "See all Comments").

    (Apologies to Mr. Moderator, it was too good to pass up!)

  2. This is very sad.
    Although it is true that teachers are humans too, every educator must realize they are under a microscope wherever they go. If they act stupid at a bar, the word will get out...
    If you do not want to be an example, do not get into teaching.

  3. While many of you commenting have nothing but childish jokes about this you should be asking yourself why the school districts background check did not pick up on the charges from 2007!

    Why kind of background check are they doing that would miss charges from just five years ago.

    Someone needs to be looking at the hiring system and background checks CCSD is using.

  4. @vegaslee wrote - "you should be asking yourself why the school districts background check did not pick up on the charges from 2007!"

    Background searches will just turn up a conviction, not the original charge, nor will a background check spit out any details of what happened before adjudication.

    He was convicted of disorderly conduct in 2007, not with the original charges he was arrested on. Blame the DA's office here, as they let him cop a plea. A disorderly conduct conviction is a very minor misdemeanor, and would not keep anyone from being a teacher.

  5. @vegaslee - I just looked up Mr. Lawson's Clark County Criminal records... no record of his past 2007 conviction. Only a record of a different person (same name) w/conviction for BURGLARY/ROBBERY WITH A DEADLY WEAPON.

    So you see, folks, background searches are really not that effective.

  6. @vegaslee - I just looked up Mr. Lawson's criminal history. Guess what? He has none. Could be his record was sealed, so it would not show up during a search. There is a reference to another person by the same name, but there is no public record of Mr. Lawson's 2007 conviction.

    Background checks are only as reliable as what the court system records for the public.

  7. Don't know why I have two posts ... one did not show, so I redid it... oh well. Sorry folks.

  8. I find it hard to believe the principal knew NOTHING about it. They have been best friends since 2005.

  9. I get it that someone who has a physical medical problem with having to go to the bathroom right away, may urinate in an alley or beside a dipsy-dumpster? But, I just don't get the public masterbation thing and find it very disturbing for anyone - especially so for any sort of public servant!

    GEESHE! Wait until you get home - or, get a room!