GCSO arrests former Bell teacher

The Gilchrist County Sheriff’s Office (GCSO) arrested a Bell Elementary School teacher on six criminal sexual felony counts on Friday.

According to a GCSO release, officers arrested William Carawan Jr. on one count of sexual battery on a victim under 12 years of age by a person 18 or older and five counts of lewd and lascivious molestation. The Columbia County Sheriff’s Office assisted in Carawan’s arrest. 

Circuit Judge David P. Kreider set Carawan’s bond at $900,000.

The GCSO did not disclose the time frame when Carawan was on staff at the school, and the office did not immediately return a request for comment. 

The investigation started on May 20 and GCSO reported it remains ongoing. Anyone who may have information related to the case is directed to contact Sgt. Stephen Stalvey at 352-463-3410. 

According to a Gilchrist County School District (GCSD) release, Carwan, who was hired by GCSD six years ago, passed a full background check at the time of his employment and the school district was first made aware of the allegations against him on April 19. 

At that time, GCSD placed Carwan on paid leave while the accusations were investigated by the GCSO and the Department of Children and Families.  

Editor’s note: This story has been updated with information from the Gilchrist County School District at 8:30 p.m. on May 20.

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