Principal in Apache Junction accused of trying to lure teen girls to skinny-dipping party

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Karl Waggoner (Source: Pinal County Sheriff's Office) Karl Waggoner (Source: Pinal County Sheriff's Office)
Karl Waggoner (Source: Pinal County Sheriff's Office) Karl Waggoner (Source: Pinal County Sheriff's Office)
Four Peaks Elementary School (Source: Facebook) Four Peaks Elementary School (Source: Facebook)
Pinal County Sheriff Mark lamb holds news briefing (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Pinal County Sheriff Mark lamb holds news briefing (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
APACHE JUNCTION, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

A school principal in Apache Junction has been arrested for allegedly trying to lure teenage girls to a skinny-dipping party.

"This morning we arrested a Four Peaks school principal out of Apache Junction," said Pinal County Sheriff Mark Lamb on Tuesday. "That arrest took place near the school this morning."

Karl Waggoner, 59, faces charges of luring a minor for sexual exploitation and aggravated luring/misrepresenting his age.

Waggoner was hired in July as principal of Four Peaks Elementary School. This was supposed to be his first official week at the school.

But something last week caught the attention of sex crimes investigators in Pinal County.

"Last week, our investigators began an investigation after seeing an online ad for teenage girls to come out for a skinny-dipping party at a pool in Scottsdale," said Lamb.

[RAW VIDEO: Sheriff Mark Lamb talks about AJ school principal accused of trying to lure teen girls]

"One of our investigators noticed this ad and responded to the ad as a 14-year-old girl, at which time we continued our investigation," Lamb continued. "During that time, he not only lured that 'teen' in, he also was explicitly sexual in his discussion with the 'teen' and also exchanged explicit photos with that 'teen.'"

Waggoner was arrested and booked into the Pinal County Jail.

"Fortunate that we caught him," said Lamb. "But it's also unfortunate that we have this kind of behavior going on amongst our adults preying on teens."

Waggoner reportedly "admitted to his behavior," Lamb said. "He admitted to the communication and the other things."

"This is an absolute violation of trust that we as parents put in our school systems and our educational systems. When we send our kids to school we want to know that they're protected and they're not being preyed upon," Lamb said.

Sheriff Lamb ended his news briefing with a warning for all parents: "The Internet is a dangerous place," he said. "There's a lot of good that comes from the Internet, but there are a lot of predators out there ready to prey on your teens, your young kids, and they're good at it."

"Be aware of what your children are doing," he continued. "Know that these things are out there. We're doing our part to stop what we can, but we need to parents to be involved as well to keep these kids from getting into these types of situations."

Waggoner, who lives in Scottsdale, was hired out of Texas, where he worked as a school teacher and administrator for years.

"This is not a novice to education," Lamb said. "This is somebody who spent decades in our educational system."

The letter below was sent home with students at Four Peaks Elementary School on Tuesday, September 5:

Dear Parents,

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. If you have other questions regarding this letter, please contact Sally Marks, Public Relations Specialist, at (480) 982-1110 or email smarks@goaj.org.

Sincerely,
Sally Marks Public Relations Specialist, Apache Junction Unified School District

Additional Information:

  • 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

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