A security guard assigned to Stoney Creek High School in Rochester has been charged on allegations he was sexting with a 15-year-old student.
Benjamin Thomas Lawrence, 23, allegedly sent the female student sexually explicit photos from his cell phone.
Lawrence is employed by DM Burr Security Services, which is contracted through the Rochester Community School district.
He is charged with distributing sexually explicit, visual or verbal matter to children, a two-year felony. Another charge of second-degree criminal sexual conduct is pending in the prosecutor's office.
The Oakland County Sheriff's Office is investigating whether Lawrence may have been engaging in similar behavior with other students. Anyone who has information on Lawrence is asked to call the sheriff's office at 248-858-4911.
Letter from Rochester Community Schools:
I am very sorry to be writing you, especially this time of year, with information regarding an incident that occurred involving a security guard employed by D. M. Burr Security Services, which contracts security personnel to the district. The individual in question has been charged with a two year felony for distributing sexually explicit, visual, or verbal matter to a child.
Upon discovering evidence of inappropriate interactions conducted by the guard toward a Stoney Creek student, the district took immediate action, informing local law enforcement and requesting his removal from the district. We have cooperated with the Sheriff’s Office during the investigation while providing support to the student and family involved in this incident.
Nationwide incidents such as this have prompted schools to take strict precautions to ensure the continued safety of children. Rochester Community Schools, as well as the professional contracting services used by the district, conduct criminal background checks to screen candidates prior to employment. Despite these precautions, it can be difficult to determine intent to cause harm to others.
We recognize that the allegations brought against this individual are extremely serious. Please be assured that we will continue to work in partnership with families and law enforcement to ensure a safe, healthy, school environment for all students. We encourage anyone who may witness suspicious incidents to contact the building principal. We take all concerns very seriously and will respond accordingly to each. We are also reviewing our contract with D. M. Burr.
As we devote the resources necessary to ensure that matters such as these are addressed with utmost seriousness, we will not allow this to distract us from our commitment to delivering a quality education to our students.
Thank you for your continuing support and cooperation as we strive to provide a caring atmosphere that fosters healthy, positive relationships.
Robert Shaner, Ph.D.