Karl Hartman (right) pleaded guilty to charges of assault with intent to commit sexual contact during a hearing Friday at the 13th Circuit Court in Grand Traverse County. The former Kingsley Area Schools teacher and principal faces up to five years in prison for the offenses.

TRAVERSE CITY — A former Kingsley Area Schools teacher and principal has pleaded guilty to reduced charges on accusations he inappropriately touched two former students.

Karl A. Hartman, 55, pleaded guilty Friday to three felony counts of assault with the intent to commit sexual contact, stemming from accusations he spanked two former students for sexual gratification.

The plea agreement ends months of investigation and court hearings after multiple students accused Hartman of inappropriate touching as far back as 1988.

A litany of other charges were dropped as part of the deal, and prosecutors agreed to not seek any additional counts based on anyone named in the existing police reports.

Before the Friday hearing, Hartman faced charges of first-degree criminal sexual conduct, four counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct, accosting a minor for immoral purposes and two counts of providing alcohol to a minor. Those felony charges carried with them between 12 years to life in prison. Maximum sentencing for the reduced charges is five years in prison.

Hartman has to register as a sex offender for life. 

Three more sexual assault charges against the former educator were dropped in late August — a 12-year-old former student and accuser wasn’t prepared to testify, prosecutors told the Record-Eagle.

Those charges were added to his initial counts in June through an amended complaint.

The 55-year-old spent 31 years with the district as a teacher and elementary school principal.

He was placed on leave amid allegations of inappropriate conduct with young boys in early January and soon after charged in 86th District Court.

He resigned hours before investigators arrested him for the crimes.

Prosecutors told the Record-Eagle the incidents occurred between 1988 and 2018.

Sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 1.

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