This was supposed to be his first week on the job as principal at Four Peaks Elementary School in Apache Junction, Ariz.
But on Tuesday, police say they arrested Karl Waggoner, 59, for allegedly posting ads online to lure underage girls to come to his home and go skinny dipping with him, according to the Arizona Republic. Police say they caught Waggoner by posing as a 14-year-old girl online.
According to investigators, the suspect in the sting was engaging in “sexually inappropriate conversations” and “discussed engaging in sexual acts”—not realizing he was talking to an undercover cop.
Pinal County Sheriff Mark Lamb told the Republic that police believe Waggoner was posting ads as recently as Labor Day weekend inviting young girls to his home to skinny dip.
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“Considering the evidence, we are grateful we were able to arrest Waggoner and keep him from victimizing children in our county,” Lamb told the Republic.
The suspect even sent sexually explicit pictures to the undercover detective, according to a news release from the police department.
Previously, Waggoner had served for years as a principal and educator in Texas, according to the Austin American-Statesman.
“Waggoner held a position of trust, spending decades educating middle and high school students in Texas,” Lamb said. “We are working with those law enforcement agencies to see if there are any victims out there.”
Police added that Waggoner “has made admissions to our investigators as to his involvement in this case.”
Representatives for the school district told the Republic that Waggoner had been put through a criminal background check before he was hired. That background check, which is required by law, turned up no previous arrests or criminal history.
The Arizona school district sent a letter home with students on Tuesday to make them aware of the situation.
“There is some information that I would like to share with you as our partner in education,” Sally Marks, a public relations specialist for the Apache Junction Unified School District, wrote in the letter. “Early this morning, Karl Waggoner, the Principal at Four Peaks Elementary School, was arrested by the Pinal County Sheriff's (sic) Office as part of a criminal investigation.”
Though district representatives said they had no reason to believe Waggoner had done anything illegal with district students, they encouraged parents to reach out to the police “should you or your child have any information that you believe will assist the Pinal County Sheriff’s office with its investigation.”
Former employers in Texas also reached out to parents to inform them of Waggoner’s arrest, including the Eanes Independent School District.
“At no time during his approximately 18 years in Eanes ISD was there any indication of inappropriate behavior with students,” the district’s statement said, according to the Statesman. “Prior to his hire, he passed all criminal background checks.”