Children testify they were abused in Marion kindergarten teacher’s classroom


Jan 9, 2018 at 1:19 pm | Print View

TOLEDO — Two 6-year-olds testified Tuesday that they told their parents and their teacher, Diane Graham, that a 15-year-old classroom volunteer “hurt” them during “rest time” in 2016, when both were kindergartners at Graham’s classroom at Starry Elementary in Marion.

“S.L.,” as she is referred to in court documents, who is a first-grader, testified that the volunteer, Logan McMurrin, hurt her in 2016 while he was working with her one on one with school work during rest time, which was after lunch. During rest time, the classroom lights were turned off and the students napped or just “snuggled” with a stuffed animal while lying on towels on the floor, the student testified.

This is also the time Graham and McMurrin worked one on one with the students, according to testimony.

S.L. testified she told Graham that McMurrin was “doing something” that she didn’t like, and that Graham told her “he wouldn’t do that. He’s a good boy.”

Graham is on trial this week in Tama County Associate District Court for failing to report sexual abuse as a mandatory reporter, a simple misdemeanor. The trial was moved from Linn County to Tama County based on pretrial publicity.

A criminal complaint states two students in Graham’s class, on two occasions, told her about incidents involving a class volunteer, Logan McMurrin, then 15.

Graham, who is on administrative leave, failed to report the children’s disclosures to law enforcement or the Iowa Department of Human Services, according to the complaint. As a teacher, she is a mandatory reporter and required to report abuse against a child younger than 12 within 24 hours of an incident.

McMurrin, now 16, later was convicted in Linn County Juvenile Court of three counts of sexual abuse against two 6-year-old girls and a 5-year-old girl.

“H.S.,” also a first-grader, testified McMurrin touched her inappropriately during a rest time in 2016. H.S. was more hesitant to answer questions on the stand as she played with a “squishy.” She admitted to being nervous and scared.

H.S. said she told Graham that McMurrin touched her “where he wasn’t supposed to.” She told Graham about it twice. Graham told H.S. she would talk to McMurrin, but that he continued to hurt her, she testified.

Neither girl gave details of the sexual abuse while testifying, but prosecutors plan to play the videotaped St. Luke’s Child Protection Center’s interviews with the children, which will disclose what the girls said, later Tuesday afternoon.

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

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