A 63-year-old Houston middle school teacher has been accused of sexually assaulting a 14-year-old student after exchanging explicit video calls with the girl.

Dale Lamar Vanwright was arrested Friday and charged with sexual performance by a child, indecency with a child by contact, and improper relationship between educator and student.

All three charges are second-degree felonies punishable by 2 to 20 years in prison.

When the alleged crimes occurred, Vanwright taught design at Tanglewood Middle School at Houston Independent School District.

A district official told Texas Scorecard Monday that Vanwright “is no longer employed with HISD effective June 7, 2024” and “has not had contact with students in any HISD facility since that date.”

The alleged victim, who was dating a member of Vanwright’s family, told police that the married teacher occasionally drove her home from school.

In October 2023, they began video-calling at night using the FaceTime app. The girl claimed that during multiple calls, Vanwright asked her to expose herself and perform sexual acts while he watched.

The girl told police that on May 8, Vanwright pulled into a parking lot while driving her home and fondled her in his car. She told him to stop.

Vanwright admitted to the calls but denied any sexual contact.

During a court appearance Monday, prosecutors said Vanwright had booked a hotel room and bought condoms so he could watch the girl and another teen have sex.

Prosecutors also said the victim gave them audio of Vanwright asking the girl to keep quiet because there was another case against him.

After he was accused of hugging and kissing another 14-year-old student, Vanwright was reportedly suspended by Houston ISD in March.

HISD administration stated that they cannot comment on the ongoing investigation into Vanwright or provide any other information about his employment: We have sent an update to the school community, but we are prevented from commenting on the specific details of personnel matters.”

Investigators believe the teacher may have more victims.

According to a report by KHOU, a court-appointed attorney said Vanwright had been a teacher for 34 years.

State records show that Vanwright has not been issued a Texas teaching certificate.

Vanwright was booked into Harris County Jail on Friday and released Monday on a $150,000 bond—$50,000 for each charge.

Texas Scorecard has covered dozens of teachers across the state charged with sex crimes involving students and other children.

Erin Anderson

Erin Anderson is a Senior Journalist for Texas Scorecard, reporting on state and local issues, events, and government actions that impact people in communities throughout Texas and the DFW Metroplex. A native Texan, Erin grew up in the Houston area and now lives in Collin County.

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