Former middle school principal charged with sex crimes

    Former Kingsley Middle School principal, Karl Hartman, was charged with sex crimes.

    GRAND TRAVERSE COUNTY, Mich., (WPBN/WGTU) -- A former northern Michigan principal is facing sex crime charges after multiple reports of inappropriate relationships with young boys.

    The Grand Traverse County Prosecuting Attorney's Office charged the former Kingsley Middle School Principal, Karl Hartman, 54, with two counts of second degree criminal sexual conduct, one count of accosting a minor and two counts of furnishing alcohol to minors.

    Prosecutors say Hartman was arrested Tuesday morning during a traffic stop in Kingsley.

    Three different victims are expected to testify against Hartman having inappropriate contact with them.

    According to the Grand Traverse County Prosecutor, the alleged incidents date back to 2009.

    “It’s not uncommon at all for kids to wait often they wait until they’re in a safe place or until they’re away from this person," said Noelle Moeggenberg. "Or, frankly just old enough to realize that what happened to them was wrong."

    According to court records, one alleged victim said when he was 8 or 9 years old he spent the night at Hartman's home and Hartman had him sleep in his bed, where he put his hands down the boy's underwear and groped him.

    Another alleged victim stated in court records that when he was was 8 or 9 years old he was called to Hartman's office for using an inappropriate word in class.

    The victim said when he got to the office he was told to close the door and Hartman put him on his lap and rubbed parts of his body.

    A third victim said he routinely spent time at Hartman's home when he was about 14 years old, court records said.

    The victim told investigators once he was at Hartman's home, Hartman gave the victim and another child alcohol and they became drunk.

    Hartman asked the boys to show him their penises so he could judge whose was bigger, the victim said.

    Prosecutor Moeggenberg says it's not uncommon for individuals to use alcohol when committing these types of crimes.

    "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,” said Prosecutor Moeggenberg.

    Hartman worked for the Kingsley Area School District for more than 30 years.

    The superintendent there says learning about the allegations was shocking, and upsetting.

    “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," said Dr. Keith Smith. "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.”

    Meanwhile, both the superintendent and the prosecutor are encouraging any other potential victims to come forward.

    "If anything doesn’t seem right or seems odd, let school officials or law-enforcement know," said Dr. Smith. "We would much rather look into 100 complaints that don’t go anywhere, than to have one that turns out to be true.”

    Dr. Smith said once everything is said and done, the school will closely review what happened to see if there was any chance the school could have intervened sooner.

    Anyone with more information is asked to call the Grand Traverse County Detective Bureau at (231) 995-5002.

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