A 59-year-old Arizona elementary school principal was arrested after allegedly posting online ads asking teen girls to go skinny-dipping with him

By Christine Pelisek
September 06, 2017 05:23 PM
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Credit: Pinal County Sheriff's Office

A 59-year-old Arizona elementary school principal was arrested on Tuesday after allegedly posting online ads asking teenage girls to go skinny-dipping with him at his house, PEOPLE confirms.

Karl Judd Waggoner is held on the suspicion of luring and aggravated luring of a minor. He remains in the Pinal County jail in Arizona in lieu of a $100,000 bond and is awaiting formal charges as the county attorney reviews the case, authorities say.

It was unclear Wednesday if he has retained an attorney.

Law enforcement began investigating Waggoner, a principal at Four Peaks Elementary School in Apache Junction, Arizona, after a detective with the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office came across an online ad on Craigslist asking for teen girls to come out to a skinny-dipping party at Waggoner’s home in nearby Scottsdale, Arizona.

A sex crimes detective then posed as a 14-year-old girl in order to engage Waggoner, who allegedly had “sexually inappropriate conversations, discussed engaging in sexual acts with the undercover detective and provided sexually explicit photos,” Pinal County Sheriff Mark Lamb tells PEOPLE.

“Our detective found the ad last week,” Lamb explains, alleging, “All through this holiday weekend, he [Waggoner] was posting online and soliciting for young girls. We decided to move on it Tuesday morning and we picked him up near the school.”

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“Our detective was very clear that he portrayed himself as a 14-year-old girl,” Lamb says.

He says the undercover investigator was “going back and forth” with Waggoner for six days.

After Waggoner was arrested, Lamb says he allegedly “admitted to having the profile and the communication with the investigator.”

Lamb says the sheriff’s office has reached out to law enforcement in Texas, where Waggoner previously worked, on the suspicion that there may be a history of wrongdoing. Their investigation is ongoing.

Sally Marks, a spokeswoman for the Apache Junction Unified School District, where Waggoner works, tells PEOPLE he was hired on July 18 and started at the elementary school on Aug. 7. He is now on leave, she says.

“We are very, very shocked to hear the news,” she says, noting he “received glowing recommendations from everyone we talked to.”

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“We did a background check on him and nothing showed up,” Marks says. “All the standard things we do, fingerprinting, background checks. We also did personal checks. … We are supposed to go back five years and we went back 15. He was very qualified. We were initially thrilled.”

Waggoner had allegedly moved to Arizona to be closer to elderly relatives, Marks says.

News of his arrest has reportedly shocked the school community.

“When I first met him, I thought something was a little strange about him,” Kay Garrett, whose granddaughter goes to the elementary school, told local TV station KNXV. “He seemed nice — but wow.”