Hartman and Worden

Karl Hartman (left) and his attorney, Shawn Worden.

TRAVERSE CITY — Former Kingsley Area Schools principal and teacher Karl Hartman will spend the next 3-5 years in prison for assaulting two former students for sexual gratification.

Judge Kevin Elsenheimer went outside the sentencing guidelines of 7-23 months with the harsher punishment sent down Thursday in the 13th Circuit Court.

Hartman, 55, pleaded guilty Oct. 4 to three counts of assault with intent to commit sexual contact, stemming from accusations he spanked two former students for sexual gratification in his office when he was the principal at Kingsley Elementary School in 2004.

He accepted the terms of a plea agreement offered by the Grand Traverse County prosecutor that dropped six felony and two misdemeanor charges.

Prosecutors said the incidents that generated the original charges — one felony first-degree criminal sexual conduct, four felony second-degree criminal sexual conduct, one felony accosting a minor for immoral purposes and two misdemeanor counts of furnishing alcohol to minors — occurred between 1988 and 2018. Convictions on those charges could have netted Hartman 25 years to life in prison.

Hartman was arrested Jan. 22 and arraigned the following day on the two second-degree counts of criminal sexual conduct, one accosting count and two furnishing alcohol counts. Prosecutors added more charges in the following months as more accusers came forward. Hartman faced 11 counts at one point before three charges were dropped in August.

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