Wednesday, February 15, 2006

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Attorney General Abbott Wins Child Sex Indictments Against Ex-Teacher, Ex-Retirement Home Employee

BASTROP – Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott’s Cyber Crimes Unit has obtained indictments against a former Pflugerville substitute teacher and an ex-employee of an Arlington retirement home for attempting to have sex with children they met in Internet chat rooms.

A Bastrop County grand jury indicted Dwayne Allen Lawhon of Pflugerville on Tuesday on charges of attempted indecency with a child, attempted sexual performance by a child and criminal solicitation of a minor. The grand jury also indicted Pablo J. Alegre of Fort Worth on charges of attempted aggravated sexual assault of a child, attempted sexual performance by a child and criminal solicitation of a minor. Prosecutors with the Attorney General’s Office partnered with Bastrop County District Attorney Bryan Goertz in the cases.

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Dwayne Lawhon
Dwayne Lawhon

Video of Lawhon's arrest
Pablo Alegre
Pablo Alegre
Video of Arrest
Video of Alegre's arrest in Bastrop

“I am pleased to announce these indictments, but especially troubled because these offenders associated themselves with entities that hold the public’s trust, like schools and homes for seniors,” Attorney General Abbott said. “We must all be vigilant in making sure our children are protected from these criminals no matter where they try to hide. I also thank District Attorney Goertz for his work in these cases and for his partnership with my office to put these men behind bars.”

Lawhon, 27, was arrested on Dec. 21, 2005, after driving from Pflugerville to Bastrop to meet someone he thought was a 14-year-old girl he had been chatting with online. When he arrived, however, he discovered the “girl” was actually an undercover investigator with the Attorney General’s Cyber Crimes Unit.

At the time of his arrest, Lawhon was employed by the Pflugerville Independent School District as a substitute teacher. Lawhon is free on a bond that includes conditions set by the 21st District Court in Bastrop County, preventing him from being near a school or having direct contact with children.

Alegre, 23, was also surprised to find Cyber Crimes investigators waiting for him on Aug. 5, 2005, after he traveled from Fort Worth to Bastrop to have sex with a person he believed to be a 13-year-old girl he met on the Internet. Alegre, who is also free on bond, was employed by an Arlington retirement home at the time of his arrest.

All three offenses involving Lawhon are third-degree felonies, each punishable by up to 10 years in state prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

Two of the charges against Alegre are second-degree felonies, punishable by up to 20 years in state prison and a fine of up to $10,000. Attempted sexual performance by a child is a third-degree felony.

Attorney General Abbott has made pursuing sexual predators a top priority in his administration. The Cyber Crimes Unit, which targets online predators, has made 74 arrests since Abbott formed the Unit in 2003. The Fugitive Unit, which locates convicted child sex offenders who have violated the terms of their parole and could be stalking children, has arrested 261 such offenders. His office also has obtained convictions against 38 men on child pornography charges.

To find out more about Attorney General Abbott’s efforts to crack down on sexual predators, visit the Attorney General’s Web site at www.texasattorneygeneral.gov or call (800) 252-8011.