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Lennard High English teacher had sex with student, 17, deputies say

By Tony Marrero
Caroline Lawson, a 29-year-old English teacher at Earl J. Lennard High School in Ruskin, was arrested Friday and charged with having sex with one of her students, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office. [Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office]

TAMPA — A Hillsborough County teacher resigned Friday after she was arrested and charged with having sex with one of her students.

Caroline Lawson, a 29-year-old English teacher at Earl J. Lennard High School in Ruskin, had consensual sex with the 17-year-old boy at her Tampa apartment about 5 p.m. Wednesday, according to a Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office arrest report.

Later that evening, Lawson sent a series of text messages to a third party saying she cheated on someone "with a student," the report states.

The third party asked: "When you say cheated, do you mean slept with?"

"Yes," Lawson replied.

The student later gave investigators a detailed account of the encounter and identified Lawson as his English teacher at Lennard.

Lawson declined to provide a statement but did admit she sent the text messages, the report says.

She was arrested early Friday on two counts of unlawful sexual activity with a minor.

The charge was enhanced to a second-degree felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison. She was being held in the Hillsborough County jail in lieu of $30,000 bail.

Lawson had been employed with the district since 2014, a spokeswoman said.

"We are deeply disappointed by these charges," district officials said in a statement.

"The safety of our students is our top priority. We are working with law enforcement as they investigate."

Contact Tony Marrero at [email protected] or (813) 226-3374. Follow @tmarrerotimes.