Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Former Iowa high school teacher blames student for seducing her: 'I feel like I was the victim'

She was a 24-year-old substitute teacher. He was a 17-year-old high school student.

And over the course of an illicit, months-long relationship during the 2015-2016 school year in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, she admits, the pair had sex "hundreds of times."

Mary Beth Haglin was charged in July with sexual exploitation by a teacher.

But now, Haglin claims that not only is she innocent of committing any crime, she's actually the victim in the relationship.

Haglin appeared on the Dr. Phil show this week and accused the student of hatching an elaborate plan of romantic seduction, then threatening to "burn her life down" if she ended the relationship.

In recent months, Haglin claims, she's been fired from her job and forced to work as a stripper using the nom de stage "Bambi."

"The student twisted my brain into accepting this relationship," she told Dr. Phil McGraw. "He did so with such intelligence and such an elevated vocabulary that I was completely duped by the whole facade."

"Many people see him as the victim and me as the perpetrator," she added. "From a psychological standpoint and from every other standpoint, I feel like I am the victim.

"He did burn my life to the ground."

Haglin's trial is scheduled to begin Nov. 14, but she has requested that it be relocated due to the publicity surrounding the case, according to the Associated Press.

The Cedar Rapids Community School District has banned Haglin from employment in the district, but she continued to work as an elementary school substitute teacher near the end of the last school year "because of a miscommunication," the AP reported.

A spokesperson said the district formally removed Haglin from its "substitute central system" on June 14.

The former substitute teacher told Inside Edition in September that her tryst with her student started when he began writing flirtatious messages on Post-it notes that he left on her desk on his way out of class at Washington High School. The student began asking her to get lunch or coffee, she said on Dr. Phil; she initially resisted his overtures, she said, but the pair began texting and chatting on Facebook in September 2015.

At the time, she was 23 and the student was 17.

"Trust me, it's not difficult to be a caring boyfriend," the student texted Haglin, according to a message revealed by the show. "Especially to someone as magnificent as you."

Haglin told Inside Edition the student even had pet names for his teacher, including "my empress" and "Mrs. Robinson," a reference to Anne Bancroft's classic movie role as an older woman who embarks upon an affair with a younger man in The Graduate movie.

Over time, Haglin said, the teen's romantic gestures softened her resolve, and a sexual relationship began last October.

She was attracted to him, she told McGraw, because of "his mind," which she described as more mature than his age.

"I was completely head over heels," she told Inside Edition.

She said she met the teen nearly every day to have sex in her car, which she parked in a public park. They also visited his parents' homes, she told Dr. Phil.

"We met several times a week, not every time was just to have sex," she said. "There were times we would sit and talk. I thought in my mind this was some sort of real relationship."

In Iowa, teachers are prohibited from sexual contact with students until 30 days after graduation, even if the student is at least 18, according to the Des Moines Register.

As their relationship progressed, Haglin said, she eventually sent the student naked pictures, which he shared with other teenagers. Haglin told McGraw that she never expected the student to share the images.

"You have got to be dumber than a box of rocks to share naked pictures with a 17-year-old boy," the talk-show host said.

"He knew that I was vulnerable," Haglin responded.

The relationship eventually unraveled when the teacher and student were spotted by other students in a car in June. One witnesses took video of the couple and posted it on Twitter, the Des Moines Register reported.

Haglin told McGraw that when the student began telling his classmates that he was carrying on an inappropriate relationship with her, she tried to break up with him.

At that point, she said, he threatened to tell school officials about the relationship and "light a match and burn down [her] life."

Haglin said she was too scared to end the relationship, but a parent eventually convinced her to confess and shared that confession with school officials, who launched an investigation.

According to the Des Moines Register, Washington High's veteran 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."

The Gazette of Cedar Rapids reported that "though Plagman and other administrators investigated rumors of Haglin's inappropriate relationship in February and again in May, no one in the district ever contacted police, district officials have said."

Haglin told the Gazette that the district wanted to keep her conduct "hush-hush."

"The Cedar Rapids Community School District has concluded its investigation into the events related to Mary Beth Haglin's inappropriate relationship with a student during the spring 2016 semester at Washington High School," a district statement said. "Under Iowa's public records laws, the District is required to keep its investigation, and certain student information and personnel information confidential."

Unable to find a teaching job and needing income, Haglin told Dr. Phil that she has been forced to take a job as a stripper.

"You could wind up having to register as a sex offender for probably 10 years," McGraw told her. "You need to seriously step back and assess all of the bad decisions that have snowballed here because you are very young and you can so turn this around."

"This does not have to ruin your life," he added, before promising to help her find a counselor and a different job.

"The student twisted my brain into accepting this relationship," Mary Beth Haglin told Dr. Phil McGraw on his television show. "He did so with such intelligence and such an elevated vocabulary that I was completely duped by the whole facade." ["Dr. Phil"]

"The student twisted my brain into accepting this relationship," Mary Beth Haglin told Dr. Phil McGraw on his television show. "He did so with such intelligence and such an elevated vocabulary that I was completely duped by the whole facade." ["Dr. Phil"]

Former Iowa high school teacher blames student for seducing her: 'I feel like I was the victim' 10/21/16 [Last modified: Friday, October 21, 2016 1:59pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Washington Post.

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Forecast: Break out those sweaters, Tampa Bay, as cooler weather just a day away


    Tampa Bay residents will finally be able to break out their sweaters and boots this week, but not until enduring yet another humid, rainy day to start the workweek.

    Tampa Bay's 7-day forecast. [WTSP]
  2. Justin Timberlake in Super Bowl halftime show for first time since 'wardrobe malfunction'


    Justin Timberlake has finally been invited back to the Super Bowl halftime show, 14 years after the "wardrobe malfunction" with Janet Jackson caused a national controversy.

    Singer Janet Jackson covers her breast as Justin Timberlake holds part of her costume after her outfit came undone during the halftime show of Super Bowl XXXVIII in Houston in 2004. The NFL announced Sunday, Oct. 22, 2017, that Timberlake will headline the Super Bowl halftime show Feb. 4 in Minnesota, 14 years after the "wardrobe malfunction" with Janet Jackson cause a national controversy. [Associated Press]
  3. Here's what happened when 30 high school sophomores gave up their phones for a day


    LUTZ — They were everywhere at Steinbrenner High School. Teens with panic-stricken faces, furiously slapping one thigh, then the other.

    Grace Hayes, 15, left, and Kai'Rey Lewis, 15, talk and text friends after having a discussion about smartphone technology in Tiffany Southwell's English Literature class at Steinbrenner High last week. Southwell asked theme to give up their phones for a day and write about it. For Lewis, the ride home that day "was the longest bus ride in my life." [OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times]
  4. Cuban media treats visit by Tampa City Council as historic event


    TAMPA — Delegations of one kind or another have been traveling from Tampa to Cuba for years, even before President Barack Obama took steps to normalize relations between the two countries in December 2014.

    A Tampa delegation to Cuba this week was featured prominently in reports by the state-run media in Cuba, including Granma. From left are Tampa City Council vice chair Harry Cohen, St. Petersburg City Council Chair Darden Rice, Tampa philanthropist David Straz and Tampa City Council Chair Yolie Capin.
  5. As the curtain rises on the Straz Center's biggest shows, the spotlight is on parking


    TAMPA — The Broadway Series, the most lucrative shows of the year for the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts, start this week, and this year the center wants all the drama to take place on stage, not during the drive to the theater.

    With downtown Tampa getting busier at night and on weekends, city officials and administrators from the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts have been working on ways to unsnarl traffic and help visitors find parking when there are lots of events at the same time. CHRIS ZUPPA   |   Times (2009)