A plot juicy enough for a Lifetime movie, a female substitute teacher who admits to having sex with a high school student “hundreds of times” in her car until they got busted now claims her teenage lover is the true perpetrator while she’s the victim of seduction.
Mary Beth Haglin was charged in July with sexual exploitation by a teacher. She was 24 at the time of their escapades during the 2015-16 school year at Washington High School in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He was 17.
After being fired from her teaching job and becoming a stripper going by the stage name “Bambi,” Haglin has taken her claims of innocence to daytime television.
She first appeared on Inside Edition in September, and last week she joined the Dr. Phil show and explained how she fell “head over heels” for her wily student whose “mind” — more mature than her own, she said — hatched an elaborate strategy to seduce her, and that he threatened to “burn her life down” if she ended the relationship.
Her trial is scheduled to begin Nov. 14, but according to the Associated Press, she has requested that it be relocated because of the publicity surrounding the case in Cedar Rapids.
Here’s her explanation to Dr. Phil McGraw about how the student manipulated here into a months-long dalliance:
“The student twisted my brain into accepting this relationship. 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. From a psychological standpoint and from every other standpoint, I feel like I am the victim.
“He did burn my life to the ground.”
A former substitute teacher, Haglin told Inside Edition that the relationship started when the student started writing flirtatious messages on Post-it notes that he would leave on her desk. Soon the student began asking her out for lunch or coffee, she said on Dr. Phil. She said she initially declined, but things started heating up when they started texting and chatting on Facebook in September 2015.
Haglin eventually started sending the student naked pictures of herself, she told Dr. Phil, to which the host responded: “You have got to be dumber than a box of rocks to share naked pictures with a 17-year-old boy.”
The relationship ended when students caught them in a car with one student taking a video and posting it on Twitter, according to the Des Moines Register. Haglin said she tried to break up with the student after he started telling friends of the inappropriate relationship. Then she said, he threatened to tell school officials and “light a match and burn down [her] life.”