The Newton School board approved new procedures for visitors Monday in response to the visit of a man to two schools in May who was later charged with sex crimes unrelated to those visits. Thirty-three-year-old David Lavera represented himself as a stuntman in the “Twilight” movie series during his visits and was later arrested for alleged sexual contact with a 14-year-old girl. Additional sexual abuse charges involving minors have now been filed against Lavera.
Superintenden Bob Callaghan says the new rules require every to show a photo ID when visiting. He says not all school employees were asking for ID’s.”He came in with two parents and the idea was this is Newton we’re safe, and they just allowed him into the school. We want to make sure that everyone feels welcome, but at the same we want to make sure that all students are safe,” Callaghan says. Callaghan says the school’s requirement of one week notice before visitors are allowed into classrooms was also not followed.
The superintendent says even if procedures had been followed, the county sheriff, police chief and DCI all say there were not any concerns about Lavera that would have stopped the visits. “There was nothing in this individual’s background that would have displayed a red flag. Where I feel that our district can make an improvement is to request identification,” Callaghan says. “Then it would have been certain — even though the individual signed in with his real name — then we would had an ID that would have been photocopied and would have been on hand.”
The superintendent says the parents who brought Lavera into the schools were likely surprised when he was charged with the crimes. “The fact that they worked with this individual on a movie set five years ago, they perceived him to be someone that was a movie stuntman. And so, I am sure that they were caught off guard,” Callaghan says. Callaghan says Lavera’s visits were recorded on the school’s security camers and he was never left alone in the school. All district employees in charge of monitoring the secured doors into the schools throughout the district will be trained on the visitor procedures.
Lavera was originally charged with enticing a minor, carrying weapons and falling to have a valid driver’s license for allegedly luring the 14-year-old girl from Baxter into his car in June. He was later charged with third-degree sexual abuse, attemping to entice a minor, two counts of sexual exploitation of a minor and two counts of invasion of privacy. Lavera allegedly committed a sex act on the 14-year-old girl, and is also accused of video taping a 12 and 14-year-old girl using the bathroom and taking a showerat a home in Newton.
(Reporting by Randy Van, KCOB, Newton)