Elementary school teacher in Olathe convicted of harassing student

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Photographic illustration by Neil Nakahodo

Kansas City Star

After nearly an hour of emotional testimony and legal arguments, a former Olathe public school teacher was sentenced to a year in Johnson County jail on Wednesday for harassing one of his fourth graders, a 10-year-old girl that James D. Loganbill photographed surreptitiously fully dressed for her sexual gratification.

District Court Judge Thomas Sutherland has ordered Loganbill, 60, to be required to register as a sex offender for the next 15 years and noted that he is imposing the maximum sentence for the misdemeanor charge. Stalking has since been declared a crime by the Kansas legislature due to the circumstances of this case.

“This kind of behavior by anyone is wrong,” Sutherland said from the bench, but because he was a teacher it was even worse. After learning the behavior, the girl’s young classmates were also traumatized, he said.

“Your antics have victimized many young girls and their families. “

Loganbill has been taken into custody after the court hearing, but a bail hearing is set for Tuesday when his defense attorney argues he should be released pending the outcome of a scheduled appeal.

Dozens of parents, alumni and more watched the conviction on Zoom as supporters of the girl and her family sat in the courtroom, all dressed in pink in solidarity, for witnessing the outcome of the high-profile case against the 31-year-old teaching veteran.

“I started fourth grade like most other kids, and came out of fourth grade with my innocence taken,” the girl identified in court documents, as AA stated in her prepared remarks. “I had to have conversations about adult things that I wasn’t ready to have. I felt scared, embarrassed, humiliated and I was afraid of adults.

Loganbill admitted to Olathe Police in March 2020 that he was sexually aroused by the girl in his fourth grade class at Meadow Lane Elementary School, particularly when she was wearing black leggings or dance pants . He took photos and videos of her from the waist up when she was in her classroom and on the playground.

Investigators found more than 200 photos and videos of AA on his phone and other electronic devices.

School officials called the attention of law enforcement to Loganbill’s behavior after AA’s classmates told their parents they noticed him photographing their friend while that she wasn’t looking. Loganbill admitted to police that what he had done was “frightening” and “morally wrong,” police said, but that he never touched the girl.

He was charged in June with criminal harassment, which was a misdemeanor at the time. Based on this case, Johnson County District Attorney Steve Howe, the girl’s family and others have successfully urged the legislature to change the law and turn crime into crime.

At trial, lawyer Carl Cornwell argued that his client’s actions did not correspond to the crime he was accused of. The harassment caused the victim to fear for her safety at the time she was harassed, he said, and the girl only became aware of Loganbill’s activity after she was brought to report. attention from the authorities.

Sutherland disagreed with this reasoning, judging that it was enough for her to be afraid after learning that she was the subject of Loganbill’s sexual desires. Cornwell’s assertion will be one of the bases of the appeal.

AA said during the trial that she was still afraid of Loganbill more than a year after her actions came to light. She berated her former teacher on sentencing for making her feel this way as Loganbill bowed his head and had no eye contact with her as he sat at the defense table.

“A child should never feel like this by an adult, especially not by their teacher,” she said. “Children deserve to be protected. Children are not meant to be the prey. You had a job to protect your students, but you used us instead.

Despite being found guilty of victimizing just one of her students in the 2019-20 school year, the girl and her mother said Loganbill preyed on young girls for much of her life. career. A number of former students have contacted the family after the case made headlines in the summer of 2020.

Some of his students in the 1990s said they weren’t comfortable with the way he worshiped them.

The Star reported last fall that in 2011, a group of cheerleaders from Pioneer Trail Middle School, also in the Olathe District, complained to administrators that Loganbill knew them too well.

He paid special attention to a girl, which made her uncomfortable. After an internal investigation, he leaves the school which falls for replacement work at other Olathe schools before being reassigned to Meadow Lane.

Former Lenexa Police Victims Special Detective Shannon Leeper told court officials in Olathe District who knew of Loganbill’s story bore some responsibility for his subsequent actions.

“You should all be ashamed of yourself,” Leeper said. She said her then 9-year-old daughter had been one of AA’s classmates and later recalled how Loganbill punched the boys in the classroom with his fist, but “greeted her with a hug and passed her hand down her back to her buttocks “.

Prior to sentencing, Sutherland ruled that the Loganbill offense met the legal definition of a sexually motivated crime and was therefore subject to the sex offender registration law.

Cornwell said there is no doubt that his client is “a broken man” and full of remorse. On more than one occasion, Loganbill has questioned whether he has the right to live. He is in consultation, said Cornwell, “just for the sake of not indulging himself.”

Cornwell sought clemency from Sutherland, noting that Loganbill had never been convicted of a felony before this case. Since retiring from teaching, Loganbill has worked in construction to help support his family.

In his appeal, Cornwell plans to argue that what Loganbill did was morally wrong, but not a crime under Kansas law.

This story was originally published 3 November 2021 5:54 p.m.

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Mike Hendricks grew up in Omaha and joined The Star’s reporting team in 1985 after working with two Iowa newspapers. He is a member of the Investigations and Surveillance Reports team. Send advice to mhendricks@kcstar.com, send a direct message on Twitter @kcmikehendricks or call 816 234 4738.


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