Solicitation Charges Against OK Teacher Spark Older Complaint

In April, Charles Clay Dawson, a teacher at Wanette Public Schools in Pottawatomie County, was charged with soliciting nude photos from two female students, one aged 16 and the other aged 15. According to the investigative report, the 43-year-old Dawson solicited the photos from the students using standard text messaging and the KIK messaging app.

Dawson denied the charges that he solicited the photos from the students, telling investigators that they were voluntarily sent to him by the students. Notwithstanding his denial of the solicitation charge, he agreed to resign his position at the Wanette school.

The allegations against Dawson contain some disturbing elements. In an affidavit, the 16-year-old student says that Dawson provided her with a cell phone so that they could communicate without being discovered. She told investigators that she was worried that she would not pass her math class with Dawson if she did not send him nude photos.

Dawson allegedly told investigators that he did request the nude photos from the girls, but deleted them after viewing them. He entered a not guilty plea on two separate counts: one for instigating sexual conduct with a minor by use of technology and one for possession of juvenile pornography. His next court appearance is scheduled for October 27, 2015.

The news of the charges against Dawson stirred up long-suppressed memories for one of Dawson’s former basketball players. Speaking anonymously, the former player said that fifteen years earlier, she had fallen in love with Dawson when he was coaching basketball in Purcell, OK. Even though she had her own cell phone (relatively unusual for a teenager at the time), she said that Dawson gave her another cell phone so that they could communicate with each other privately.

She told KFOR that she regrets not speaking up at the time.

It makes me sick to know that if I would have done something back then, or my parents or the school administration, then this would have not happened again. This can happen to anybody. Anybody can persuade you and I was manipulated by an adult.

Dawson has worked in at least four different school districts in Oklahoma, underscoring the need for better reporting and tracking of allegations of sexual misconduct by educators against students.

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  1. Jane - Reply

    The girl 15 years ago, was me. I was 16. It was 2000. I had the old nokia phone with an antenna. Most of my friends had cell phones. It was not unusual. He supplied me with a separate one so my parents could not see the bill. Just wanted to clear that up.

    • Frederick Lane - Reply

      Thanks for taking the time to comment, and for the information. It’s interesting that most of your friends had cell phones. My research suggests that in 2000, less than twenty percent of teens were carrying phones regularly. That percentage increased pretty quickly after 2004. If you have anything else you’d like to add, don’t hesitate to let me know.

      • Jane - Reply

        I Understand that. However, I can recall being a senior in high school, ((2001/2002) and my friends texting in class. Not that it’s the main issue in this story. Haha! I just noticed you said it was unusual, and in our small town, It was not. I have actually had the same phone number since 1999. I was 16. I was a good student, active in my church, athletic and smart. Just made a bad decision. Should have pressed charges when I had the chance, but I was “in love”. Ha. Looking back now, as a 32 year old and a mother, I was dumb. I was an only child and my parents didn’t press charges because I begged them not to, and they were afraid I would do something stupid. My mom had some inklings as to what was going on before it happened, and kicks herself for never asking. Parents, talk to your children!!! Glad he is finally getting the punishment he deserves. Yuck.

      • Jane - Reply

        Also, I did go to the sherrif’s department in the county he was charged this most recent time and give my story. I felt like it somehow helped me make up for what I did not do 15 years ago.

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