WILLMAR, Minn. — A Willmar, Minn., school teacher is facing a felony charge in Kandiyohi County for allegedly touching a student inappropriately during the 2012-13 school year.
Lisa Jean Donner, 58, of Clara City, Minnesota, appeared Wednesday, July 28, before Eighth District Judge David Mennis on a charge of felony second-degree criminal sexual conduct.
Donner was released on her own recognizance and was ordered not to have any contact with the alleged victim. Her next court date is scheduled for Oct. 26.
According to the criminal complaint, a former student of Donner's told law enforcement in January that Donner had either touched or groped him in the crotch and buttocks area over his clothing during the 2012-13 school year when he was in first grade. The boy is now 15.
He told law enforcement the groping occurred during the entire school year and that she would also rub his shoulders or give him hugs.
An adult woman who also spoke with law enforcement said she informed the school after the boy told her about the touching.
District Superintendent Jeff Holm said he wasn't aware of the accusations until he was contacted Thursday by the West Central Tribune but confirmed she was a staff member at Kennedy Elementary. He said he would not be able to share whether there were any past possible complaints made against Donner due to data privacy laws.
Holm said typically the district would be looking into putting a person on leave and starting an investigation of its own but that he would have to check with human resources to look into what the next steps will be in this case.
Holm said he's always surprised to hear about cases like this but that "Willmar Public Schools will do everything they can to protect students."
Donner was employed directly by the district from 1986 to 2020 and worked for a company that provides substitute teachers for the district during the 2020-21 school year, according to Holm.
"We have notified that company about this situation, and are working to determine what additional actions we should take regarding the situation," Holm later wrote in an email.