Karl Hartman is a former Michigan middle school principal charged with child sex crimes, WPBN reported.
Hartman, 54, was charged with two counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct, one count of accosting a minor and two counts of furnishing alcohol to minors.
Hartman, the former principal of Kingsley Middle School, was arrested Tuesday during a traffic stop, the Grand Traverse County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office said.
According to the prosecutor, three different victims will testify that Hartman had inappropriate contact with them dating back to 2009.
Two of the victims are said to have been 8 or 9 years old at the time of the alleged incidents while the third victim was around 14, prosecutors said.
Hartman was an employee for Kingsley Area Schools for 31 years until he resigned earlier this month.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Karl Hartman Was Removed From School Earlier This Month
Hartman was placed on leave earlier this month after the school launched an investigation that he had improper relationships with male students, The Traverse City Record-Eagle reported.
“The district was shocked and heartbroken to learn of accusations against a current administrator,” Kingsley Superintendent Keith Smith said in a letter. “Following standard protocol we contacted (Children’s Protective Services) and law enforcement. We ask that everyone keep an open mind and has faith in the investigative process. We ask that the community respect the privacy of all parties involved during the investigation.”
Hartman had worked in the district’s schools for more than 31 years. He began as a first-grade teacher in 1987 and later served as the elementary school principal from 1995 to 2016 before moving to middle school. He also coached varsity volleyball and middle school track.
2. Hartman Was Arrested During a Traffic Stop Tuesday
Hartman was arrested during a traffic stop on Tuesday, just days after he was placed on leave at the school.
Hartman was charged with two counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct, one count of accosting a minor and two counts of furnishing alcohol to minors.
Prosecutors said three victims are expected to testify that Hartman had inappropriate contact with them.
The incidents took place in 2009, 2014, and December 2018, MLive reported.
Prosecutors urged any potential other victims to come forward.
3. Hartman Abused Boys As Young as 8 Years Old, Prosecutors Say
One alleged victim said he was 8 or 9 years old when Hartman had him sleep in his bed while spending the night at his home, WPBN reported. The alleged victim said he put Hartman put his hands down the boy’s underwear and groped him.
Another alleged victim, who was also 8 or 9 at the time, said Hartman called him into his office for swearing. Hartman then closed the door, put the child on his lap, and rubbed parts of his body, the alleged victim said.
The third alleged victim said when he was 14 he regularly spent time at Hartman’s home. He said Hartman once gave him and another child alcohol and they got drunk. Hartman then asked the boys to show him their penises so he could judge whose was bigger, the alleged victim said.
Prosecutor Noelle Moeggenberg said it was common for sex offenders to ply their victims with alcohol.
“Basically, to make it easier to commit the crime, and the kids feel that they are going to be in trouble because they are drinking so they are less likely to talk about what happened,” she told WPBN.
4. Hartman Was Previously Suspended After a ‘Sexually Explicit’ Incident
Hartman was suspended without pay in 2004, while he was principal of Kingsley Elementary School, after he had an incident with a student’s mother, The Record-Eagle reported.
According to the complaint, Hartman made “sexually explicit” comments to the mother while she was working at a local bar.
The Kingsley Board of Education trustees determined that Hartman’s behavior “constituted inappropriate conduct of a serious nature which negatively impacts (his) administrative duties.”
He was placed on probation through June 2005.
5. Hartman Was a ‘Well-Respected Member’ of Community
Kingsley Superintendent Keith Smith said he was shocked to learn about the allegations against Hartman.
“He’s been a well-respected member of the school community, a pillar of the school community, and so certainly there is a lot of support there,” Smith told WPBN. “It’s a small town, so I think many people know who some of the alleged victims are and they are very well respected. So, for the most part i think people have been pretty quiet and are just waiting for the investigative process to play out.”
Hartman was booked into Grand Traverse County Jail. He faces up to 15 years in prison.