Former Palacios teacher/coach arrested

Dillon Gaffney

Dillon Gaffney is free on a $100,000 bond after being arrested June 29 in Huntsville on a charge of an improper relationship between an educator and a student.

The charge alleges Gaffney, 24, had a relationship with a student while he was a social studies teacher and an assistant soccer coach at Palacios High School in the 2015-2016 school year.

Gaffney left Palacios and became the girls head soccer coach at Huntsville High School during the 2016-2017 school year.

Huntsville police executed a warrant issued by Matagorda County, and Gaffney was booked in the Walker County Jail before being transferred to the Matagorda County Jail on June 30.

"It doesn't matter if someone is of age or not, it is not permitted for an educator to have a relationship with a student," Lt. Jim Barnes, of the Huntsville Police Department, told the Huntsville Item. "These aren't always cases where something just happens. Often, time passes while the student receives counseling and comes to terms with what happened to them."

Gaffney could not be reached for comment.

Lt. James Orr, of the Matagorda County Sheriff's Office, said Gaffney was released on bond July 3.

Gaffney was placed on leave by the Huntsville school district after his arrest, and his name was removed from the district's staff directory.

"The charges against the employee do not involve any Huntsville ISD student," the Huntsville district wrote in a statement. "While personnel matters are confidential, the Huntsville ISD community and stakeholders can be assured that swift action will be taken."

Gaffney, a native of Ireland, was employed by the Palacios school district from June 2015 to August 2016 before being hired in Huntsville.

The Palacios school district also released a statement after Gaffney was arrested.

"At no point during his tenure here were we made aware of any inappropriate interactions between Mr. Gaffney and any of our students," the statement said. "Regardless of our district's best efforts to thoroughly vet and screen all incoming employees, we cannot ultimately predict the future behaviors or actions displayed by our staff.

"What we can tell you with certainty is that we will always look into and investigate any claims or reports regarding inappropriate contact between staff and students and will not hesitate to take immediate and effective action when necessary and warranted."

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