Former Kingsley Principal Appears in Court to Face Sex Crime Charges

A former middle school principal had his first day in court, and 9&10 News was there as he heard the charges against him.

Former Kingsley Middle School Principal Karl Hartman will have to answer to five separate charges, including three felonies.

One by one, Judge Michael Stepka read each of the charges against the former middle school principal.

Karl Hartman didn’t say much – giving the same answer each time. Judge Stepka says, “Do you understand the charges against you?” To which Hartman simply replied, “Yes.”

Hartman is facing two felonies for second-degree criminal sexual conduct for allegations of inappropriately touching boys who were 8 or 9 years old. Those incidents allegedly happened in 2009.

A third felony alleges Hartman had a 14-year-old boy expose himself to Hartman at the principal’s home in 2014. 

The three felonies could get Hartman up to 34 years in prison.

Hartman’s attorney says the fact that the charges date back to 2009 is one reason the judge should consider bond.

Shawn Worden says, “These are serious allegations but they are stale. The oldest of which is more than 10 years ago at this point.”

The attorney also noted Hartman’s long-standing ties to the community. “He’s definitely local, he’s been established in the Kingsley community for a long period of time. And I don’t necessarily think he’s a danger to anyone given the staleness of these accusations.”

The prosecutor’s office is willing to go along with bond, but with conditions.

Assistant prosecutor Kyle Attwood says, “There are several victims here. It’s for some conduct that has occurred over several years. I’m also concerned that the defendant has recently been contacting at least one of the victims via text message.”

Attwood says they’re concerned about the state of mind of the victims, and nature of the messages he says Hartman has sent recently.

“The tone of (the text messages) would indicate that the defendant is in somewhat of a desperate state of mind. I think for his own safety and his own security a higher bond is appropriate. I wouldn’t want any harm to befall him at his own hand based on his state of mind presently.”

The alleged victims are now 18 and 19 years old, but the judge ordered Hartman not to have contact with any of them – or their family members.

Attwood says he expects more charges are possible. “There are other victims who are coming forward and I anticipate there may be others that come forward, and I think the extent of the allegations warrants a higher bond for the protection of the community.”

In addition to the no-contact order, Hartman has been given a $75,000 bond, he also must wear a GPS tether, and is not allowed to step foot on any school grounds.