MARION

Teen who abused 3 kindergartners in Marion now free

But Logan McMurrin, now 18, on sex offender list

Logan Dean McMurrin (Photo from Iowa Sex Offender Registry)
Logan Dean McMurrin (Photo from Iowa Sex Offender Registry)

A teenager who sexually abused three kindergartners in 2016 at a Marion school was released last month from the Iowa State Training School for Boys and faces no more court supervision, although he struggled throughout the program and racked up 64 violations.

Logan Dean McMurrin, now 18, had issues controlling his behavior and managing his emotions and had inappropriate sexual contact with another student within three months of starting at the Eldora school in 2017, according to court documents. He completed the sex offender program but “lacked motivation” and didn’t “internalize” the treatment, staff reported.

McMurrin was convicted as a 15-year-old of sexually abusing two 6-year-old girls and one 5-year-old girl in a kindergarten class at Starry Elementary School in Marion. McMurrin was a school volunteer at the time in 2016.

He was convicted in Linn County Juvenile Court. After graduating from the training school in November, he was discharged April 23. Sixth Judicial Associate District Judge Angie Johnston had no choice but to release him because he had turned 18 and had graduated.

Assistant Linn County Attorney Lance Heeren said he asked the court in 2017 to waive jurisdiction from juvenile court so McMurrin could be prosecuted as a “youthful offender” through district or adult court.

This would have allowed McMurrin to still go to the training school until he was 18. But then he would return to district court and a judge could order him to serve the remainder of his sentence in prison, on probation or not at all.

McMurrin’s lawyer at the time, Amy Dollash, argued that due to the teen’s age and lack of criminal history, and based on the opinion of a sex abuse treatment counselor, there was enough time for rehabilitation if he remained in the juvenile system.

Judge Johnston agreed with Dollash and denied the waiver.

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Last month, after McMurrin’s release, Johnston used her discretion to order he be placed on the sex offender registry for life. She found he is “at risk to reoffend.”

That requirement and ordering protection orders for each victim are the only conditions she could issue at the juvenile court level.

The juvenile court office recommended the registry requirement because, among other reasons, McMurrin sexually abused the three victims multiple times and was “cold, strategic and calculated” in his offenses.

McMurrin asked the judge not to impose the requirement, arguing he wasn’t at risk of reoffending, according to court documents. He also said it wouldn’t be an issue because he was going to be supervised at all times by his mother’s fiancé or soon-to-be stepfather, who would hire him to work in construction.

McMurrin's appearance has dramatically changed since he was in court in 2017. He was tall and thin then. He is now 5-foot-11 and 234 pounds, according to the sex offender registry.

The parents of the three victims attended last month’s hearing and submitted statements to the court, asking for the registry requirement. McMurrin made a brief apology to the families.

Johnston, in the ruling, found McMurrin’s behavior at the state school “troubling” because he only “went through the motions to get through the program.” During the hearing, McMurrin couldn’t articulate “triggers” that made him offend or coping strategies to keep him from reoffending.

“Logan seemed to simply regurgitate the things he thought the court wanted to hear from him,” Johnston stated.

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Still, the judge modified the registry requirement by waiving the usual 2,000-foot residency rule for him. The rule prohibits sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of schools and day care centers.

McMurrin planned to live with his mother near Daniels Park and Garfield Elementary School.

According to the ruling, McMurrin struggled and sometimes failed to adhere to state training school rules:

l He had 64 “time outs” based on issues with others at the facility. Staff had to deal with angry reactions from other students over things McMurrin said or how he acted, including a comment he made in referring to a song about kindergartners.

l He continued to deny his guilt until June 12, 2017, but then partly admitted his behavior and was allowed to begin sex offender programming.

l He started group sessions July 27, 2017, but was taken out when he broke confidentiality.

l He was placed Aug. 25, 2017, in a restricted unit for inappropriate sexual contact with another student. He also was caught viewing pornographic material on a computer during a class.

l In April 2018, he said his offenses were motivated by power and control. He didn’t think the children would report him and he “got away with it” at first.

l He conceded he wasn’t worried about putting the children through a trial and showed “little remorse.”

Following his sentencing, a charge was filed against a Starry Elementary teacher, Diane Graham, for whose classroom McMurrin volunteered in 2016. She was acquitted last year by a Tama County jury for failing to report child sex abuse in her classroom as a mandatory reporter, a simple misdemeanor.

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Parents of victims also filed six lawsuits against the Marion Independent School District, Graham and another teacher, Sara Sievers, who had McMurrin as a volunteer before Graham.

The parents asserted their children were subjected to sexual abuse and psychological and emotional injuries.

The school district settled four of the lawsuits for $2.7 million in 2018. One was dismissed, and the lawsuit against the district and Sievers remains pending.

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

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