DES MOINES — A substitute teacher accused of having sex with a 17-year-old high school student in Cedar Rapids claims the student seduced her.
Mary Beth Haglin was charged in July with sexual exploitation by a teacher. On Monday, she appeared on Dr. Phil, accusing the student of seducing her and sharing sexy photos with his friends.
“Many people see him as the victim and me as the perpetrator. From a psychological standpoint and from every other standpoint, I feel like I am the victim,” Haglin said on the Dr. Phil show, citing the student's intelligence and “elevated vocabulary” as part of the seduction.
Haglin pleaded not guilty to sexual exploitation by a school employee. Her trial is set to start on Nov. 14, although she has asked to move the trial out of Linn County due to pretrial publicity.
Cedar Rapids Community School District barred Haglin from teaching at district schools after an investigation, but through a miscommunication, she continued to work as an elementary substitute at the end of the 2015-2016 school year, the Associated Press reported.
In August, Washington High School principal Ralph Plagman was asked to resign after the district determined he had participated in an ineffective initial investigation into accusations about Haglin's conduct. A spokesperson for the Cedar Rapids Public School District did not respond to an email requesting comment.
On the show, Haglin claimed that the student repeatedly asked her to meet for lunch or coffee. She met the boy when she was a student teacher at Washington High School in Cedar Rapids. At the time, she was 23 and the student was 17.
She started chatting with the boy on Facebook and through text in September 2015, and the relationship became physical in October 2015, she said. On the show, she said she was vulnerable and confided in the student.
“One night after a particularly bad night with my boyfriend, we had gotten into a big fight, and the next day I looked at his message and thought, ‘I’m just going to respond.’”
Haglin admitted having sex daily with the student in her car at a public park, in his car, at his mother’s house and at his father’s house.
In Iowa, teachers are prohibited from having sexual contact with students, even if the student is 18. Teachers are prohibited from having sexual contact with former students for at least 30 days following graduation.
The student sent her sexy notes, and Haglin thought she could keep the nine-month relationship secret.
“Trust me, it’s not difficult to be a caring boyfriend. Especially to someone as magnificent as you,” the student texted Haglin, according to the show. She also said the student left her Post-it Notes with romantic messages.
She sent the student naked pictures, some graphic, which he shared with his friends.
“You have got to be dumber than a box of rocks to share naked pictures with a 17-year-old boy,” Dr. Phil McGraw said about halfway through the show.
Two students spotted the couple in her car in June, captured the scene on video and posted it on Twitter.
Haglin then told McGraw that she tried to get out of the relationship, but the student said he would “light a match and burn down (her) life.” Haglin said she was scared to leave the relationship.
Haglin was fired from her teaching position and now works as a stripper using the name “Bambi.”
McGraw offered Haglin help finding counseling and a new career besides stripping.
Follow Susan Stapleton on Twitter: @SusanMStapleton