Public Safety

Former Washington High substitute teacher Mary Beth Haglin found guilty of sexual exploitation

She faces up to 2 years in jail or fine

Mary Beth Haglin listens to proceedings after Sixth Judicial District Judge Kevin McKeever issued his verdict in her case in Linn County District Court in Cedar Rapids on Friday, Dec. 16, 2016. Haglin chose to have a bench trial based on the minutes of testimony of the sex exploitation by a school employee aggravated misdemeanor charge, for which McKeever found her guilty. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)
Mary Beth Haglin listens to proceedings after Sixth Judicial District Judge Kevin McKeever issued his verdict in her case in Linn County District Court in Cedar Rapids on Friday, Dec. 16, 2016. Haglin chose to have a bench trial based on the minutes of testimony of the sex exploitation by a school employee aggravated misdemeanor charge, for which McKeever found her guilty. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)
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CEDAR RAPIDS — A judge found Mary Beth Haglin, a former Cedar Rapids Washington High substitute teacher, guilty of having a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old student on Friday in Linn County District Court.

Haglin, 24, of Cedar Rapids, didn’t show any visible reaction when Sixth Judicial District Judge Kevin McKeever announced she was guilty of sexual exploitation by a school employee, an aggravated misdemeanor. She and her attorney Katie Frank declined to comment as they left the courtroom.

She faces up to two years in jail or a fine between $625 and $6,250. She also is required to register as a sex offender for 10 years.

Sentencing is set for Feb. 17 in Linn County District Court.

After the hearing, Assistant Linn County attorneys Heidi Carmer and Monica Slaughter said they are satisfied with the verdict.

Haglin agreed to a bench or nonjury trial based on the “minutes of testimony,” a limited summary of evidence the prosecution would include at trial.

McKeever said he reviewed the videos of an interview with police investigators and an interview with the 17-year-old victim at St. Luke’s Child Protection Center. He briefly went over the “highlights” of his ruling during the hearing.

McKeever said the elements necessary to find guilt are:

• Haglin was a school employee — a substitute teacher — from January to May.

• The 17-year-old male was a student during that time at Washington High.

• Haglin knew he was a student.

• Haglin engaged in sexual conduct with him during this time.

McKeever’s written ruling, available following the hearing, laid out more detailed facts from the two taped interviews he reviewed.

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The 17-year-old student said he met Haglin in the spring of 2015, when she was a student teacher at Washington High, the ruling shows. At this time, the conversations between the student and Haglin mostly regarded school related topics.

Haglin and the student admitted they met again in the fall of 2015, when Haglin returned to work as a substitute, according to the ruling. They also admitted they began messaging each other through social media and they had sex in October 2015, the report states.

The student’s father told investigators he met Haglin on several occasions but he was initially unaware that she was a teacher, according to the ruling. But his mother, who was employed at Washington during the January through May time period, told investigators she knew Haglin began a long-term substitute teaching position at the school.

Haglin and the student told investigators Haglin sent nude photos to him and the photos were found in his iPod account. The ruling doesn’t say when the photos were sent.

Haglin and the student also admitted the relationship ended in early June, the report states.

Haglin, through her lawyer, agreed to the non-jury trial after Carmer amended the sexual exploitation to a felony in November and it was approved by the court. Haglin also lost her other motion, arguing she wasn’t considered a “school employee” under Iowa law, in an attempt to get the charge dismissed.

Carmer filed the felony charge following a slew of interviews Haglin gave the local press and national television programs, including the “Dr. Phil” show, where she admitted to having the sexual relationship with the teen. During some of the interviews, she went into detail about the sexual encounters and how long the relationship lasted.

Carmer argued in a previous hearing that the interviews revealed a “pattern or practice of sexual conduct” to upgrade the charge.

McKeever was set to rule on what portions of a video of the “Dr. Phil” episode would be allowed at trial, but Haglin made an agreement with the prosecutor on Nov. 23, to have a non-jury trial on the misdemeanor charge. Neither the “Dr. Phil” video nor or any other television interviews were evidence the judge considered.

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

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