APACHE JUNCTION, AZ –
An Apache Junction principal is accused of luring teen girls online.
The Pinal County Sheriff’s Office said Four Peaks Elementary School Principal Karl Waggoner was arrested near the school on Tuesday morning.
According to PCSO, the 59-year-old man posted online ads asking teen girls to go skinny dipping with him at his house.
A PCSO sex crimes detective conducted an undercover investigation and posed as a 14-year-old girl. During the investigation, Waggoner engaged in inappropriate conversations and discussed engaging in sexual acts.
“Even up until this weekend, Mr. Waggoner was posting ads online soliciting young girls for sex. Waggoner held a position of trust, spending decades educating middle and high school students in Texas. We are working with those law enforcement agencies to see if there are any victims out there,” said PCSO Sheriff Mark Lamb.
“I want to say in this case, fortunate that we caught him, but unfortunate that we have this type of behavior going on,” Lamb said.
Parents reacted with shock outside Four Peaks Elementary School on Tuesday afternoon.
“When I first met him I thought something was a little strange about him,” said Kay Garrett, whose granddaughter attends the school. “He seemed nice, but wow.”
Another parent told ABC15 she plans to follow-up with the district.
“We’re definitely going to want to know that he’s being replaced, immediately,” said Dorothy Reynolds.
Waggoner is being charged with luring and aggravating luring of a minor.
Waggoner was on vacation just last week, but was on site for the first day of school, school officials told ABC15.
The letter below was sent home with students at Four Peaks Elementary School Tuesday:
There is some information that I would like to share with you as our partner in education. Early this morning, Karl Waggoner, the Principal at Four Peaks Elementary School, was arrested by the Pinal County Sherriff’s Office as part of a criminal investigation.
The Apache Junction Unified School District is cooperating with law enforcement agencies as they investigate the matter. In Mr. Waggoner’s absence, Chad Cantrell, the Assistant Principal at Cactus Canyon Junior High, and the District’s Athletic Director, will serve as the acting Principal. Mr. Cantrell is a well-respected educator, administrator, and member of the community and will provide excellent leadership to students and staff.
Mr. Waggoner is a recent hire who relocated from Texas. Prior to offering Mr. Waggoner his position the District conducted all background checks required by law and found no prior arrests or criminal history.
The District is committed to the safety and well-being of our students. Each school has a behavior coach/counselor onsite that is available to students, and we encourage students to reach out to their counselor as needed. Although we have no reason to believe that Mr. Waggoner engaged in any improper conduct with District students, should you or your child have any information that you believe will assist the Pinal County Sheriff’s office with its investigation, please directly contact the Sheriff’s office, at (520) 866-5111.
Additional Information from the district:
· Mr. Waggoner’s employment with AJUSD began July 18, 2017.
· The first day of school for students was August 7, 2017
· He is an employee at the current time, but not performing any job duties for the District. To our knowledge, he is in the custody of the Pinal County Sheriff’s Department.
· He relocated to Arizona from Texas.
· The school district complied with all legal requirements for conducting a background check prior to recommending for hire.