LANSING – A 47-year-old Leslie High School teacher and coach faces sexual assault charges after police and prosecutors say he had sex with a student.
David Paul Hovarter, who lives in Marshall, was charged Tuesday with two counts of first degree criminal sexual conduct and two charges of second degree criminal sexual conduct.
Officials said the victim was a female student at Leslie High School between the ages of 13 and 15. Ingham County Sheriff Gene Wriggelsworth said a complaint was filed with his department on July 17. He said he did not know when the alleged offenses occurred and declined to say where they happened.
“I don’t think anything gets much sleazier than assaulting young children like this,” said the sheriff, who announced the charges during a news conference with Ingham County Prosecutor Gretchen Whitmer. “It revolts us all.”
Hovarter is a girls cross country coach for the district. He was released on a personal recognizance bond after his arraignment Tuesday in 55th District Court. A hearing to determine whether he should stand trial on the charges is set for Oct. 27.
Hovarter’s attorney, Timothy Williams, declined to comment on the criminal case. He said he believes his client has worked for the school district for more than 20 years and is currently on administrative leave.
Leslie school district officials could not immediately be reached for comment.
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Whitmer said Hovarter “used his status in the school system to gain access to the child victim.” Officials don’t know of any other possible victims but wanted to urge anyone who has been sexually assaulted to come forward, she said.
“We thought that … perhaps, there might be (other victims) due to the relationship of the victim and the suspect, that certainly there was access to other victims,” Whitmer said.
Anyone with information is asked to call the sheriff’s department at 517-676-2431 or 517-676-8205.
Hovarter is the second Leslie teacher to face sex charges this year.
Jamee Hiatt of Grass Lake, who taught third grade at the district’s Woodworth Elementary School, was charged in January with one count of first-degree criminal sexual conduct and one count of third-degree criminal sexual conduct. She was fired the same month.
Prosecutors allege Hiatt, who was 31 when she was charged, had sexual contact with a student starting in 2014. The boy was 14 at the time of Hiatt’s arrest.
She faces up to life in prison if convicted.
Ken Palmer and Matt Mencarini are reporters for the Lansing State Journal.