AUSTIN (KXAN) — The principal of Burnet Middle School in Austin has bonded out of jail after being charged with online solicitation of a minor.
Principal David Dean was arrested on the second-degree felony charge Monday, the superintendent’s office said Monday. A warrant for his arrest accuses Dean of knowingly soliciting a minor online, through text, email, and a commercial online service. Police believe he intended to engage in sexual intercourse with the minor.
The mother of the 11-year-old minor told Conroe police her daughter had been in contact with Dean over text. It was revealed to officers, Dean is an extended family member to the minor, according to the affidavit. The conversations started between the two on April 15, showing Dean texting the minor “if you’re okay I can come in and lay next to you to give you company!”
Over the next few weeks Dean and the young girl talked about family matters and her cats. During their conversations Dean would say things like “What if I came tonight? Really want to see you.” In an interview with the Children’s Safe Harbor, the minor told officials the texts “became inappropriate.”
The charge stems from an investigation by the Montgomery County District Attorney’s office north of Houston, which is working in connection with the Texas Attorney General’s Office.
Dean has been placed on administrative leave without pay, effective immediately, the school district said in a letter to parents.
The district says they have no reason to believe Austin ISD students were involved. Officials will hold a meeting at the middle school Tuesday to inform parents of their plan for campus leadership.
“Austin ISD takes this situation very seriously, and we are committed to keeping you informed about this case within the limits of the investigation,” the office of the superintendent said.
Dean started working for AISD in 2006 at St. Elmo Elementary School. He worked as assistant principal at Highland Park and Hart elementary schools from 2008 until 2013. He was promoted to principal in 2013, before moving to Burnet where he served as interim principal from June 2015 to March 2016.
He was arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated in January 2009, a charge that was lowered to obstructing a highway passageway, a Class B misdemeanor, in Nov. 2009.
In June 2015, KXAN’s Erin Cargile interviewed Dean on how he marketed Hart Elementary to families in the midst of AISD facing a drop in overall student enrollment.
Monday, one of Dean’s family members told KXAN it is a very difficult and challenging time. They are trusting in the justice system, and said Dean is innocent until proven guilty.
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