(Grand Forks Herald) - A married educator in Fertile-Beltrami (Minn.) High School accused of sexual conduct with a student said Thursday through her attorney that she actually is the victim.
Terina Ann Parr, 44, was arrested March 8, a day after the Polk County Sheriff’s Office said it received a report from the school “regarding potential inappropriate behavior between a 17-year-old male student and a paraprofessional.”
Parr allegedly kissed the student and touched him inappropriately.
Law enforcement officials said she told them the student surprised her by kissing her first and that he placed her hands on himself.
“The wrong person was charged in this case,” said Parr’s attorney, Blair Nelson of Bemidji. “We have a situation where there is a troubled but manipulative student, and this is one of those cases where we urge everyone not to rush to judgment because there is a lot more to this story to come out.”
School Superintendent Brian Clarke said the school district is investigating the situation and he can't comment on it, including what her status is with the school. He said Parr was hired last fall as a paraprofessional.
Parr does not appear on the school's website under the faculty directory where other paraprofessionals appear.
Reached at her home Thursday afternoon, Parr referred all questions to her attorney.
The prosecutor, Polk County Attorney Greg Widseth, said he can't comment on pending cases.
Parr appeared in state district court in Crookston March 13 on a charge of fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct. The maximum sentence is 10 years in prison.
She has lived in the Fertile area for years, Nelson said.
According to investigators' statement of probable cause, Deputy Randy Lee said the student told him Parr kissed the student on the lips and later put her hands “inside his pants and touched his privates.”
The student said that in early March, he used his cell phone to record a video of himself touching Parr’s breasts “so that he would have proof,” according to the court complaint. He showed the video to other students, and told Parr he would delete it if she gave him $100. She gave him $120 in $20-bills, and watched him delete the video, he told deputies.
Several students told deputies they saw the video of the student touch Parr’s breasts.
Parr, however, said the student, one of several she was assigned to assist, had “made advances to her in the past,” according to the deputy’s statement. More than once, the student had exposed himself to her, and placed her hand “on his privates” she told Lee. The student told her everyone would believe him, not her, because “he was just a kid.”
Parr told Lee she did hold the student's hand several times while encouraging him that “he would have a good future, because he seemed really down and she wanted to support him.” She said she gave the student $120, but it was for Christmas presents, not to erase a video, although she watched him erase the video.
Deputy Nathan Rasch also interviewed Parr. She told him she had once returned a kiss from the student simply as a reaction of surprise when he kissed her. She said she and the student exchanged text messages.
Rasch reported that he obtained the student’s cell phone and found text messages to and from Parr, and a photograph of someone holding five $20 bills.
Parr is scheduled to appear in court again Monday, Nelson said.
“We believe once the evidence comes out in this case, it will turn out Mrs. Parr was the victim of sexual misconduct by the student in this case,” Nelson said. “She is being charged due to her employment situation, because she is an employee of the school involved in an accusation by a student, who actually was the perpetrator in this case.”
Parr has “a clean criminal record and has the full support of her family and friends,” Nelson said.