Mary Beth Haglin: On Friday, a judge in Cedar Rapids sentenced former Washington High substitute teacher Mary Beth Haglin to 90 days in jail for her sexual relationship – which began in 2015 and continued into last year – with a 17-year-old student at Washington High.
Judge Kevin McKeever of the Sixth Judicial District disagreed with defense’s recommendation to defer judgment and probation as well as 180 days in jail, which had been recommended by prosecutors.
McKeever noted that after considering all facts of the case and both recommendations, he believed an appropriate sentence to be 360 days in jail. He did, however, suspend 270 days, which requires Haglin to serve 90 days behind bars. Furthermore, he put her on supervised probation for two years.
Haglin, 25, of Cedar Rapids was found guilty by McKeever in December of sexual exploitation by a school employee – an aggravated misdemeanor. She agreed to a bench or nonjury trial based on “minutes of testimony,” or limited summaries of evidence the prosecution would present at trial.
In addition to his jail sentence, Haglin must serve a special parole of 10 years and be registered on the sex offender registry for 10 years due to the nature of her offense.
McKeever also warned her that, due to the sexual offense involved, any future conviction would carry an enhanced penalty and potentially more prison time.
Haglin apologized during her sentencing for any harm done to both the victim and court, emphatically declaring that it was never her intention for this to occur in her profession of teaching. She reiterated how deeply sorry she was for what had occurred.
Haglin told the judge, “Life is more complex than this snapshot in time.”
Assistant Linn County Attorney Heidi Carmer testified during the hearing that these cases are especially challenging as both the victim and community must be considered. But she maintained that certain facts in this case “cannot be overlooked,” such as an inappropriate relationship between a teacher and student. She concluded by noting how important it is for everyone involved to reach an equitable resolution in such matters.
Carmer said 180 days in jail would hold her accountable, protect the victim and community, and deter others from committing such acts of violence.
Katie Frank, Haglin’s lawyer, asked the judge to consider deferred judgment or suspended sentence and probation. She noted that Haglin had no previous criminal history and believed it was within the intent of the law that since this wasn’t a forcible felony she would qualify for either type of relief.
Frank maintained that mary beth haglin and the 17-year-old male’s relationship began before she became a substitute. It began while Haglin was student teaching. According to Frank, this case is unique because she didn’t “extend her power” or position over him and he was never her student.
Frank noted that she must also serve 10 years of special parole and remain on the registry for 10 years.
“This will have a life-altering effect,” Frank remarked.
Frank noted that Haglin’s mother, who was present at the hearing, wanted the judge to know that her daughter is more than this offense. She described her daughter as intelligent and hardworking in her words.
Last year, McKeever examined videos of an interview with police investigators and an interview with 17-year-old victim at St. Luke’s Child Protection Center to come to his decision.
McKeever’s ruling reveals the 17-year-old student admitted to authorities meeting Haglin in the spring of 2015, when she was a student teacher at Washington High. They then met again in October 2015 when mary beth haglin returned to work as a substitute teacher. It has also been confirmed they began messaging each other through social media at this point and engaged in sexual activities in October 2015.
Haglin and the student admitted to investigators that Haglin sent nude photos to him, which were discovered on his iPod account. Additionally, both parties acknowledged the relationship had ended by early June.
Carmer amended the sexual exploitation charge in November to a felony, and Haglin agreed to a non-jury trial. She lost another motion that she made arguing she wasn’t considered an “‘school employee’ under Iowa law in an effort to have the charge dismissed.
Carmer filed the felony charge after Haglin gave multiple interviews to local media and national television shows, including “Dr. Phil,” where she acknowledged having an intimate relationship with the teenager. During some of these interviews, she described their sexual encounters and how long the connection lasted.
Carmer contended that interviews revealed a “pattern or practice of sexual conduct” to elevate her charge to a felony.
On Nov. 23, McKeever was to rule on which portions of a video from Dr. Phil would be admissible at trial; however, Haglin reached an agreement with the prosecutor to hold a bench trial instead for misdemeanor charge without consideration of either Dr. Phil video evidence nor other television interviews.