Public Safety

Marion teacher to report back in the classroom Thursday

Diane Graham teaching fifth-graders after not-guilty verdict

Diane Graham appears during an October hearing in Linn County District Court. The former kindergarten teacher was charged with failing to report child sex abuse as a mandatory reporter, a simple misdemeanor. She was found not guilty in January and will return as a fifth- and sixth-grade teacher at Vernon Middle School in Marion on Thursday. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)
Diane Graham appears during an October hearing in Linn County District Court. The former kindergarten teacher was charged with failing to report child sex abuse as a mandatory reporter, a simple misdemeanor. She was found not guilty in January and will return as a fifth- and sixth-grade teacher at Vernon Middle School in Marion on Thursday. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)

MARION — The teacher who was sued over allegations she failed to report child sex abuse by a teenage classroom volunteer will be back in the classroom Thursday.

Diane Graham will be teaching fifth- and sixth-graders at Vernon Middle School in Marion, Marion Superintendent Chris Dyer confirmed in a Wednesday email.

The district has paid $2.7 million to settle four of the lawsuits filed against the district and Graham by parents of former Starry Elementary kindergartners who said Logan McMurrin, 15 at the time, sexually abused their children.

McMurrin, a volunteer in Graham’s classroom in 2016, was convicted last year in juvenile court of three counts of second-degree sexual abuse. He is now at the Iowa State Training School for Boys in Eldora.

A fifth lawsuit is pending, as is another lawsuit involving the district and another Starry Elementary teacher, Sara Sievers, in whose classroom McMurrin volunteered in August 2015.

After McMurrin’s conviction, Graham, 59, was charged with failing to report child sex abuse in the classroom as a mandatory reporter, a simple misdemeanor. A Tama County jury acquitted her of the charge in January.

During the trial, two 6-year-old girls, who were 5 when the abuse happened, testified they told Graham that McMurrin was touching them.

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But Graham testified the girls hadn’t told her, and her lawyer asked the jury what motive Graham, a teacher with 30 years experience, would have in not reporting the abuse.

Graham, after receiving an email from one of the girl’s mothers, told the Starry principal about the report, and the issue was moved up the “chain of command.”

l Comments: (319) 398-8318; trish.mehaffey@thegazette.com

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