LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – David Hovarter, a former Leslie High School teacher and cross country coach, pleaded guilty in circuit court today to one count of 2nd degree Criminal Sexual Conduct and one count of 3rd degree Criminal Sexual Conduct with persons aged 13-15 years old.
Although this was a plea agreement, there is no sentencing agreement.
Sentencing is scheduled for June 7, 2017 at 8:30 a.m.
Original story below:
October 11, 2016 – This is the second teacher in the Leslie School District this year to be charged with criminal sexual conduct.
In the case Tuesday, we’re talking about 47 year-old David Hovarter, who is charged with four counts of criminal sexual conduct in the first and second degree, crimes that could put him behind bars for up to life in prison if he’s convicted.
According to Ingham County Prosecutor, Gretchen Whitmer and Sheriff Gene Wriggelsworth, Hovarter used his status in the Leslie school system to access the victim in this case. Officials say that victim, is a student at Leslie High School between the age of 13 and 15 years old.
The Ingham County Sheriff’s Office is encouraging anyone who may have information on this case to contact them at (517) 676-2431.
“Because of some of the facts of the case, we thought that perhaps there might be due to the relationship of the victim and the defendant, that certainly there was access to other potentials victims,” Prosecutor Whitmer said. “We thought it was important to ensure that people know, number one: we take these cases very seriously, but number two: that we make sure that we have every victim who is out there potentially, is comfortable and knows where to go.”
Aside from what was said during the press conference Tuesday afternoon, and what school officials told us, 6 News did our own digging on Hovarter’s interactions with students on the field, in the classroom, and also on the internet.
6 News found a twitter page that appears to have been run by Hovarter during his time as cross country coach.
It appears he would talk with students and his athletes about a number of things including practice schedules, going on runs with him, and inviting those same people to call him.
Currently, there’s no law in Michigan that says teachers and students can not communicate via social media, meaning what Hovarter did was not necessarily against the law, but many are asking where do you draw the line?
State lawmakers are pushing for a bill to draw one, so there’s no longer a question.
A bill, which was introduced in the house back in 2015, would amend the current Revised School Code by adding a section requiring that school districts implement a policy which regulates communication between school officials and students on social media.
6 News reached out to the Leslie Schools Superintendent, he declined to comment.