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Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS - Mary Beth Haglin, a former Washington High substitute teacher, agreed Monday to allow a judge to decide her guilt or innocence on an aggravated misdemeanor charge of sexual exploitation by a school employee.
Sixth Judicial District Judge Kevin McKeever said his verdict will be based only on the 'minutes of testimony,” which is a summary of evidence the prosecution would include at trial.
The evidence is to include a Child Protection Center interview with a 17-year-old male student with whom Haglin is accused of having a sexual relationship, as well as Haglin's interview with police, McKeever said.
He said he will file the written ruling in about a month and announce the verdict in open court.
The minutes of testimony won't include interviews Haglin gave to local press and national television shows, including 'Dr. Phil” and 'Crime Watch Daily,” in which she admitted to the sexual relationship.
The minutes of testimony, not available to the public, are included with the trial information after charges are filed.
County prosecutors agreed, without explanation, to having Haglin tried on the aggravated misdemeanor charge rather than on the felony charge of sexual exploitation.
Haglin was initially charged with the aggravated misdemeanor, but prosecutors filed the more serious felony charge following the interviews she gave to media outlets.
The aggravated misdemeanor carries a maximum sentence of two years in prison or a fine of between $625 and $6,250, with the defendant having to register as a sex offender for 10 years.
The felony charge carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison.
Haglin, 24, is accused of having a sexual relationship with the student while she was a substitute at Washington from Jan. 1 to May 17 of this year.
During Monday's hearing, McKeever went over all the motions filed in the case and his rulings on each one.
The defense had asked the court to rule whether Haglin should have been considered a school employee. McKeever ruled she was an employee of the district, according to the law.
McKeever did not rule on a defense motion regarding the admissibility of portions of the 'Dr. Phil” interview, as it's now a moot issue.
Chief Judge Patrick Grady said Monday this kind of 'stipulated trial” isn't common, but it's not 'rare” in the district.
In general, not all the evidence of the case may be in the minutes of testimony because, in some cases, there could be lab or investigative reports not available when charges are filed.
Grady said defendants may want a non-jury trial based on minutes for various reasons, but it could be to preserve their appeal options.
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