Carrollton teacher disciplined twice before arrest

Records show a Carrollton teacher who was arrested last month for allegedly recording students undressing was disciplined twice last year for giving some students rides home and eating lunch alone with others.

George Edwin Thomas III is free on bond and under house arrest after he was arrested on March 9 and charged with six counts of invasive visual recording, a state jail felony.

Records obtained by FOX 4 show the administrators at R.L Turner had to discipline him twice because of past incidents mostly involving female students.

Carrollton police said the R.L. Turner High School teacher used hidden cameras to video female students who were changing into their uniforms without them knowing during the 2015-2016 school year.

According to a warrant, Thomas' girlfriend found a thumb drive that "contained multiple video recordings of teenage girls disrobing in a closet." The report also states the thumb drive had "recordings that appeared to be at a teacher's desk with female students being called to the desk."

“I have met with my client. I can tell you that he maintains his innocence,” said Thomas’ attorney, Danny Clancy. “George Thomas will tell you, ‘I’m not guilty.’”

According to Thomas’ personnel file, he was placed on paid administrative leave from May 6 to May 26 in 2016 while the school investigated reports that he was transporting students to and from school events in his own car, which is a violation of district policy.

Thomas admitted he gave multiple students on the track team rides and bought them food at restaurants. He said he took one female student home about 60 times. He was ultimately given a formal write-up and all of his coaching duties for the school year were removed.

Then in October, another teacher reported seeing Thomas eating lunch alone in his classroom with a female student. The teacher said Thomas’ door was closed and the lights were off.

Thomas said students often ate lunch in his classroom and denied doing anything wrong. He was reprimanded and told not to allow students to eat lunch in his classroom and not to eat lunch alone with a female student anywhere.

Clancy says the school district’s infractions have nothing to do with the crime Thomas is accused of committing.

“The judge is going to be very careful to make sure that only that evidence which is relevant to this allegation is admitted,” Clancy said. “We don’t have these trials where, you know, where there’s smoke there is fire.”

"Anybody looking at that is going to find that that’s odd. That is odd behavior. Not illegal behavior, but odd behavior,” said attorney Pete Schulte, who is not involved in the case. “These incidences will not come into the evidence against him in the guilt-innocent phase. If he's convicted, they will come in as prior ‘bad acts’ at any sentencing. But they're not going to come in before because they are not violations of the law."

Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD has not yet commented on the incidents. The district did place him on administrative leave again in March because of his arrest.