Teacher arrested in Marion elementary sex abuse case
The teacher of a Marion classroom where a 15-year-old volunteer sexually abused kindergartners now faces charges.
Diane Graham is charged with failure to report child abuse as a mandatory reporter. She is scheduled to make her initial appearance on April 24th.
Graham is a kindergarten teacher at Starry Elementary. The district placed her on paid leave back in November when allegations of abuse first became public. She is still listed on the Marion School staff directory as an employee.
Court records claim two students told Graham they were being abused by a student volunteer in her classroom last August. Prosecutors say Graham did not report the abuse to police or DHS to investigate. That allowed the abuse to continue for two more months, into October. In November, Parents were originally told a student had been arrested for inappropriate contact with another student
An i9 investigation in March uncovered details of that abuse and the district's response. Court records detailed the allegations against 15 year-old Logan McMurrin. He was working as a student volunteer in Graham's kindergarten class. Lawsuits and parents tell KCRG-TV9, McMurrin sexually abused several students during nap time, where other students were able to see what was happening. One student told investigators the abuse happened every day.
McMurrin was convicted of three counts of sexual abuse against three students but there may be more victims. Four families are now suing the school district and Graham for failing to protect their children from the sexual abuse. Those lawsuits claim the district knew McMurrin had sexual tendencies but still allowed him to take part in the volunteer program.
The district has not provided KCRG-TV9 with any policies for vetting volunteers that existed before the abuse, despite telling TV9 one existed. The school board has since passed new rules for that volunteer program, that include background checks. However, Superintendent Chris Dyer told KCRG-TV9 in February that the district has not been conducting those checks.
Parents have also expressed frustration at a lack of communication from the district about what happened. The school district has never sent a letter home to all parents explaining what was happening. It did, however, host a police officer at a school board meeting to answer limited questions on the case.