Charges against former Willmar teacher accused of touching student are dropped
A Kandiyohi County case has been dismissed against a teacher whose former student had accused her of inappropriately touching him during the 2012-13 school year in Willmar.
WILLMAR, Minn. — The Kandiyohi County Attorney's Office has dismissed the felony charge filed nearly two years ago against a former Willmar Public Schools elementary school teacher.
The prosecutor on Feb. 8 dismissed a charge of second-degree criminal sexual conduct against 60-year-old Lisa Jean Donner of New London, citing evidence brought forward since the charge was filed. Donner's case had been set for trial on Feb. 21.
According to the dismissal document, Assistant Kandiyohi County Attorney Laura Garvey wrote that, based on the new evidence, the state "no longer believes it could prove this case beyond a reasonable doubt."
Donner had been accused of inappropriately touching a first-grade student during the 2012-13 school year. The charge was filed in June 2021 in Kandiyohi County District Court after the boy said she touched his crotch and buttocks over his clothes.
The boy was 15 years old when he reported the incidents to police in January 2021. The boy also alleged Donner would rub his shoulders and give him hugs.
Donner's lawyer, Sarah MacGillis of Minneapolis, in a motion filed Feb. 1 sought permission from the court to present evidence at trial of prior false allegations made by the boy, of both sexual and physical abuse.
Court records show a hearing was held Feb. 7 and the case was dismissed the next day.
According to the information included in the defense motion document, in May 2022 the boy alleged sexual abuse by an "unknown brother." He then denied reporting the incident to anyone in an interview with a social worker days later. The boy's mother seemed to believe the allegation was false, the motion states.
The motion also cited an incident in 2017, in which the boy accused his stepfather of hitting him in the face. The boy's mother denied it happened but took him to a doctor, who saw nothing concerning, according to the narrative included in the motion. The boy also told a social worker it did not happen.
According to the criminal complaint against Donner, an adult woman who spoke with law enforcement said she informed the school after the boy told her about the alleged touching. She said that Donner was “touchy-feely” with everybody but not “below the belt,” according to the complaint.
Donner worked for the school district from 1986 to 2020. She also worked for a company providing substitute teachers for the school district for the 2020-21 school year.