A school social worker arrested by Clark County School District police for allegedly inappropriately touching two students at Chaparral High School has two prior domestic violence charges and a prior arrest for allegedly raping a person incapable of consent, according to police documents.
Lawrence Anthony Winston, 31, faces charges of kidnapping, child abuse, two counts of open and gross lewdness — one with a child under 18 — and two counts of attempting to engage in sexual conduct with a student 16 years or older, court records show.
Winston was arrested March 1 after two students told school police he made sexual comments, touched them and kissed them, according to Winston’s arrest report.
The school district said Monday that Winston was a contract employee who worked as a safe school professional— a role similar to that of a social worker. He was in the process of becoming a licensed school social worker, the district said.
He was contracted through Progressus Therapy in October 2018 and had his employment terminated on Feb. 28. The school district on Monday referred to him as Anthony Winston.
Investigation began Feb. 27
Officers began investigating Winston after a senior at the school told a school psychologist on Feb. 27 that Winston inappropriately touched her and kissed her on the neck the day before.
While searching law enforcement dispatch records, school police found that Winston had a “prior arrest for rape victim incapable of consent” and two separate charges of battery on a spouse, the report said. It was unclear from the report when and where the prior arrests and charges were filed. It was also unclear if Winston had been convicted of the charges.
The school district said Thursday evening that background checks are run on all potential hires, and people convicted of a felony will not be hired by the district.
“We cannot comment on ongoing law enforcement investigations or information in individual employee files,” the district said in response to further questions.
In a written statement to police, the student who reported Winston said she went to speak with him because she was anxious and having a “rough day.” She had only spoken to Winston about five times before that day, the report said.
The student said Winston sat next to her on the couch in his office and started “tightly gripping” her neck and shoulders, and rubbed her back “in a very sexual manner,” the report said. She also said he kissed her neck, touched her upper thighs and asked her personal questions about who she dated.
The student said she went to Winston’s office the following day to speak with him. She told him, “You should not be playing around with kids like that,” the report said.
Winston told her “things that were very personal and to (her) very inappropriate,” such as his girlfriend cheating on her and smoking weed, the report said.
“I expected a counselor,” the student wrote in her statement. “I just needed someone to help me. I was vulnerable and anxious and this man violated that.”
When another school employee went to speak with Winston on Feb. 27, the employee found a female student in his office. Winston was standing behind the door and “acted surprised that the door was opening,” the employee told police.
That student talked with police the next day and said that before the door was opened, Winston asked her a sexual question, kissed her neck and inappropriately touched her, the report said.
“I tried to push him off but it didn’t work, then I froze and couldn’t move so I let him continue, then the dean knocked on the door and he got up,” the student wrote in a statement to police.
She told police she saw Winston in his office three or four times. She said they “flirted with each other,” but that she didn’t expected him to “do anything physical.”
Fifth CCSD worker arrested in 2019
Winston was arrested March 1 at his apartment complex. He denied that he had inappropriate physical contact with any students, and said students were making allegations because they “were infatuated with him,” the report said.
He remained in the Clark County Detention Center as of Thursday on $150,000 bail, jail records show.
Winston is the fifth worker at the district arrested by police this year — three of whom have been accused of inappropriate sexual behavior with minors, according to Las Vegas Review-Journal records.