GUSD teacher faces felony charges for sex with student


William Dawson, 32, who taught at the Gilroy Unified School District’s advanced student program, was arrested Wednesday and charged with seven felonies for a relationship he had with a 17-year-old female student.
Dawson taught at the Dr. T.J. Owens Gilroy Early College Academy, a joint program between GUSD and Gavilan College. 
Last November, the Santa Clara Sheriff’s Office started an investigation of the alleged affair, which reportedly occurred during the 2014/2015 school year.
Wednesday evening Dawson was arrested at the Sheriff’s Department in downtown San Jose and charged with multiple counts of lewd and lascivious acts with a minor, multiple counts of unlawful sexual intercourse, and a single count of distribution of harmful matter sent to seduce a minor. Dawson was booked into the Santa Clara County Main Jail and was released after posting $150,000 bail.
Dawson has been placed on leave from the school pending further investigation. Students were notified of the arrest by email late Friday. 
“We are dismayed by this unfortunate news,” said School Superintendent Deborah Flores, in an email.  “Our focus is on the safety of our students and their well-being is our highest priority. We are fully cooperating with law enforcement as they conduct their investigation.”
Dawson taught AP Government, AP Macroeconomics, and was the Academic Prep instructor for juniors.
A Jan. 19 review on the website Rate My Professors cast a big question about Dawson:
“Dawson knows his stuff and is very approachable,” wrote one student. “While his classes aren’t easy, Dawson clearly takes his profession seriously and has shown commitment to his students that goes far beyond that of other GECA teachers… He has a good understanding of economics, but is definitely an expert in history and politics. Only problem is he has a tendency to disappear for long stretches of time with no explanation… very shady.”
Said another: “Great teacher, very helpful and respectful to students.”
Dawson took time off last year for paternity leave, according to one of his students.

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