|ALBUQUERQUE (CN) - An elementary schoolteacher had a yearlong "sexting" relationship with an 11-year-old girl, her parents claim in court.
The family sued Albuquerque Public Schools and Edward Gonzales Elementary School teacher Jacob Lawler, in Federal Court.
Lawler was sentenced last year to three years in prison and will have to register as a sex offender, Albuquerque media reported.
The parents claim in the lawsuit that Lawler got their daughter's cell phone number on a school-sponsored field trip during the 2010-2011 school year. The girl was in the fifth grade.
Lawler then "proceeded to engage in an illegal and inappropriate sexual relationship with the minor, L.F. for twelve (12) months," the parents say in the lawsuit.
It continues: "During that twelve (12) month period defendant Jacob Lawler's texting, which included photographs and images, increased in number to the point that towards the end of this illegal relationship, defendant Jacob Lawler was sending upwards of 130, 160, or 250 text messages on a given day to the minor . ....
"Many of the text messages were happening while defendant Jacob Lawler was at school, teaching his class at Edward Gonzales Elementary School.
"The text messages sent to the plaintiff ... by defendant Jacob Lawler were sexual in nature and even included and/or attached photographs of his genitals.
"Defendant Jacob Lawler used his position of influence and power to convince the plaintiff ... a minor, to take photographs of her genitals and send them to the defendant, Jacob Lawler."
The family seeks punitive damages for constitutional violations, harassment, negligence and torts.
The family is represented by Gabrielle Valdez with Youtz & Valdez.