K-12 Education

Former Washington High sub arrested for breaking pretrial release conditions

Mary Beth Haglin posts $6,500 bail

Mary Elizabeth Haglin
Mary Elizabeth Haglin

CEDAR RAPIDS — Mary Beth Haglin, a former Washington High School substitute teacher accused of having a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old student, was arrested Friday for breaking conditions of her pretrial release.

Haglin, 24, made arrangements through her attorney to turn herself in on a warrant that was issued Thursday. A jail official confirmed she paid a $6,500 cash or surety bail on Friday afternoon.

Sixth Judicial Associate District Judge Angie Wilson revoked her pretrial release and set a $6,500 bail for Haglin on Thursday.

Assistant Linn County Attorney Heidi Carmer asked for the revocation because Haglin violated conditions of the release when she called the student, who is now 18-year-old, and met with him on Sept. 6, court documents show.

A judge previously set conditions of release pending trial, which included having no contact with the student.

Carmer said Thursday she was made aware of an interview Haglin gave to Crime Watch Daily with Chris Hansen, based in Los Angeles, for an episode which aired on Tuesday. During the report, Haglin to having a sexual relationship with the student, as she did in a previous interview with The Gazette and other media outlets.

The recent video interview also shows Haglin meeting with the student at Haglin’s new workplace, Woody’s Show Club in Cedar Rapids. Haglin is working as a dancer at the club, according to the report from Crime Watch Daily.

Haglin on Thursday declined to comment about her pending arrest.


Haglin is charged with sexual exploitation by a counselor, therapist or school employee, an aggravated misdemeanor, the criminal complaint shows.

She has pleaded not guilty to the charge and her trial is set for Nov. 14 in Linn County Associate District Court.

Haglin was arrested and charged in July. According to the complaint, Haglin had a sexual relationship with the student between Jan. 1 and May 17 while she worked as a substitute teacher at Washington High School.

Haglin, if convicted, faces up to two years in jail and being listed on the sex offender registry for 10 years.

Carmer said according to the state law, passed in 1997, it prohibits anyone who is a “mandatory reporter” of child abuse for being eligible for probation. There has been some confusion over the law by judges prosecutors and defense attorneys, but Carmer said the way she interprets it, a teacher cannot receive a deferred judgment or suspended sentence.

An investigation of teachers charged with sexually abusing students in Iowa over the last five years was recently conducted by the Des Moines Register and it found seven teachers were not sentenced to jail or prison time but instead, received probation.

Iowa State Court Administrator David Boyd recently sent a message to the eight district chief judges and court administrators asking them to remind the judges of each district of the sentencing requirements.

Carmer said if Haglin is convicted, she also will be listed on the sex offender registry for 10 years.


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Two longtime Washington High administrators, Principal Ralph Plagman and Associate Principal Michael Johnson, abruptly retired over the fallout regarding the way the internal investigation of Haglin was handled. The district’s human resources director, Jill Cirivello, has also left her position.

Haglin started working as a substitute for Washington High in January and was removed from her position in May after school administrators conducted an investigation beginning in April.

But during the first investigation in February, Plagman and Johnson determined rumors of the relationship were unfounded.

According to emails acquired by The Gazette through a Freedom of Information Act request, Plagman during a second investigation of the rumored sexual relationship, agreed to write Haglin a letter of recommendation. The request came three months after Plagman and Johnson first investigated Haglin and wrongly determining the rumors to be unfounded.

After she left Washington High, district officials then failed to remove Haglin from a substitute teacher database, and she was placed as a substitute teacher in a different school for nine days at the end of the 2015-2016 school year.

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