CANTON, SD—The jury trial of a N’West Iowa elementary school principal accused of misappropriating his mother’s money has been postponed.

A trial date of Tuesday, April 28, has been scheduled in the case of 53-year-old Michael Jay Morran of Primghar. The trial originally had been set for Tuesday, March 17.

Morran was arraigned on Dec. 17 in Lincoln County Circuit Court in Canton, SD.

A grand jury has charged Morran, the principal of South O’Brien Elementary in Primghar, with:

  • Three Class 4 felony counts of theft by exploitation.
  • One Class 5 felony count of theft by exploitation.
  • One Class 6 felony count of theft by exploitation.

Morran had been entrusted with property belonging to Tracia Morren, his mother, but allegedly misappropriated several thousand dollars of her money numerous times between Dec. 28, 2015, and Oct. 3, 2017.

According to court documents, Morran “did, with intent to defraud, appropriate Tracia Morren’s property for a use or purpose not in the due and lawful execution of Tracia Morren’s trust.”

Under each of the three Class 4 felony counts, Morran allegedly misappropriated an amount of more than $5,000 but less than or equal to $100,000.

For the Class 5 felony count, he was accused of misappropriating an amount of more than $2,500 but less than or equal to $5,000.

Under the Class 6 felony, Morran allegedly misappropriated an amount of more than $1,000 but less than or equal to $2,500.

A warrant for Morran’s arrest was issued Nov. 12. The Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office took him into custody Nov. 22.

Morran was released on Nov. 26 from the Lincoln County Jail in Canton on a $2,500 bond.

According to court documents, Morran has been ordered to have no contact with his mother, who used to live in Beresford, SD.

Morran, who could not be reached for comment, has been the principal of South O’Brien Elementary since Aug. 1, 2015.

He previously served for about four years as the principal of Sibley-Ocheyedan Middle School in Sibley.