KINGSLEY — Grand Traverse County sheriff's detectives arrested Kingsley Middle School Principal Karl Hartman on criminal sexual conduct charges as he left his house Tuesday morning.
Grand Traverse County prosecutors filed CSC and other charges against the 54-year-old, accusing him of groping two boys and becoming drunk with two more boys before directing them to expose themselves.
Hartman is charged with two counts of criminal sexual contact in the second degree, one count of accosting a child for immoral purposes and two counts of furnishing alcohol to minors.
Hartman sent a letter to Kingsley Area Schools Superintendent Keith Smith on Monday informing him of his decision to retire. In the letter, which was obtained via a Freedom of Information Act request, Hartman said he was advised by his attorney not to comment on the allegations against him.
The charges follow allegations reported through three separate incidents — two in Hartman's home and one in a school.
One boy told investigators he spent the night at Hartman's home when he was 8 or 9 years old. Hartman had the boy sleep in the same bed with him, where Hartman rolled over and placed his hand inside the boy's underwear, according to reports.
A second boy, who also was 8 or 9 years old at the time, said Hartman called him to his office for "using an inappropriate word during class," reports show. Hartman told the boy to close the door behind him and placed the boy on his lap, rubbing his body with his hands, and explained the inappropriate word he used in class — a "word for an intimate body part" — and told the boy to explain in detail what the body part was used for.
Another boy, who was about 14 years old at the time, routinely spent time with Hartman. He said that one time Hartman give him and another boy alcohol, and when all three were drunk, Hartman told the boys to expose their genitalia so he could "judge whose was the biggest," according to records.
Grand Traverse County prosecutor Noelle Moeggenberg said one of the boys approached police to share his allegations and identified other boys who told officers about their experiences.
The allegations involving the boy assaulted in bed with Hartman and the boy in the classroom are both about 10 years old, Moeggenberg said. The third accusation happened on Dec. 26, 2018, according to investigation reports.
Moeggenberg did not immediately expect to file any further charges against Hartman, but she did not rule it out.
“We do still have people to interview,” she said. “Other people in the school may have seen things.”
The case remains under investigation by Grand Traverse County sheriff's deputies. Anyone with information concerning these allegations should contact the sheriff's department's detective bureau at 231-995-5002.
Hartman will be arraigned at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday at the 86th District Court.
— Brendan Quealy contributed to this report