Public Safety

Cedar Rapids custodian pleads not guilty to sex abuse of 13-year-old girl

Michael Beard
Michael Beard

CEDAR RAPIDS — A Cedar Rapids schools custodian charged with sexually abusing a 13-year-old girl over a two-year period last week pleaded not guilty and faces a Jan. 6 trial.

Michael Lynn Beard, 53, is charged with four counts of third-degree sexual abuse. A criminal complaint shows the girl, now 15, told police Beard started sexually abusing her in June 2017 when she was 13.

Police said the abuse happened most recently in August at a Cedar Rapids residence. Beard was arrested Aug. 27.

According to the complaint, the sexual abuse incidents didn’t occur on school grounds.

A judge placed an initial $40,000 cash-only bail when Beard was arrested but 6th Judicial District Judge Lars Anderson reviewed the bail and changed it to $40,000 cash or surety bond. If Beard is able to pay bail, he will be released under the supervision of the 6th Judicial District Department of Corrections.

Beard has been a custodian in a dozen schools in the Cedar Rapids Community School District for the past 27 years. He most recently worked at Madison Elementary School, according to the district.

The district placed Beard on administrative leave, district spokeswoman Akwi Nji said.

Before joining Madison Elementary’s staff, Beard worked at Hoover, Grant, Pierce, Coolidge, Truman and Arthur elementary schools; at McKinley, Harding and Taft middle schools; and at Jefferson and Kennedy high schools.

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