WDAY: The News Leader

Published March 21, 2013, 09:13 PM

Fertile teacher's aide charged with sex crime with student; attorney says woman is victim

GRAND FORKS - A married teaching aide in the Fertile-Beltrami (Minn.) High School charged with criminal sexual conduct with a male student said Thursday through her attorney she actually is the victim in the situation.

By: Forum Staff Reports,, Forum Staff Reports,

GRAND FORKS - A married teaching aide in the Fertile-Beltrami (Minn.) High School charged with criminal sexual conduct with a male student said Thursday through her attorney she actually is the victim in the situation.

Terina Ann Parr, 44, worked as a paraprofessional, an non-certified educator assisting students. Her hiring was approved at the Nov. 13 school board meeting, according to Superintendent Brian Clark and school board minutes.

But “she has lived many years in the community,” said her attorney, Blair Nelson, of Bemidji.

She was arrested March 8, a day after the Polk County Sheriff’s Office received a report from the school “regarding potential inappropriate behavior between a 17-year-old male student and a paraprofessional.”

Parr appeared in state district court in Crookston March 13 on a charge of fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct.

Reached at her Fertile home Thursday, she directed all comments to her attorney, including whether she still works for the school.

Clarke told the Grand Forks Herald, “Our district is conducting an ongoing investigation and we are not at liberty to discuss anything about it.”

Parr does not appear on the school’s website under the faculty directory along with other paraprofessionals.

Nelson said Parr “will contest the charge vigorously.”

The charge alleges she was in a position of authority over the student, who was at least 16 but younger than 18.

The maximum sentence is 10 years if she were to be convicted.

Polk County Deputy Michael Norland said in a probable cause statement that Deputy Randy Lee spoke to Principal Hillary Horner on March 7, who told him Parr had “behaved inappropriately with a student,” and that there was reportedly a video of it.

Deputy Lee said the student told him that Parr kissed him on the lips, then a month later put her hands “inside his pants and touched his privates.”

The student said 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. He said she gave him $120 in $20-bills and watched him delete the video.

Parr, however, told Deputy Lee that the student, one of several she was assigned to assist, had “made advances to her in the past.”

She held his hand several times while encouraging him that “he would have a good future, because he seemed really down and she wanted to support him,” Parr told Lee.

She said the student exposed himself to her more than once and placed her hand “on his privates” and told her everyone would believe him, not her, because “he was just a kid,” according to Lee’s account.

Parr said she gave him $120, but that it was for Christmas presents, not to erase a video. She said she watched him erase the video but said the money was an early graduation gift. She said the student mentioned “blackmail.”

On March 8, Deputy Nathan Rasch interviewed Paar, who said 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 obtained the student’s cell phone and found text messages to and from Parr and a photograph of someone holding five $20 bills.

Several students told deputies of seeing the video of the student touching Parr in the chest.

Parr is scheduled to appear in court again Monday for a “Rule 8” hearing, at which a later omnibus hearing will be scheduled when she can formally plead not guilty, 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 told the Herald today. “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.

“The wrong person was charged in this case,” Nelson said. “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.”

Polk County Attorney Greg Widseth said he does not comment on pending cases.