Lake Havasu teacher charged in student sex case www.privateofficer.com
Paul Hotaling, 35, faces two felony counts of sexual conduct with a minor after Thursday’s arrest. The alleged victim is a 17-year-old female, according to police. Hotaling made his initial appearance in Lake Havasu Consolidated Court Friday and he is currently being held on a $50,000 bond, according to court officials. His preliminary hearing is set for 10 a.m. on Nov. 27.
Hotaling worked last year as a substitute teacher for Lake Havasu Charter School, at 1055 Empire Drive, and started this year as a part-time seventh- and eighth-grade health teacher, said Principal Patricia Hauchrog.
“Ideally we are here to protect the students,” Hauchrog said. “(We will be) up front and honest. Students have got to come first.”
Hauchrog said school staff decided to notify police of the allegations, but she declined to provide further information.
Hauchrog said the school conducted the state-mandated criminal background check and fingerprinting upon hiring Hotaling. She said she learned of the investigation Thursday and it came to her as a surprise. She said Hotaling has “been a good teacher (and) well-received by the majority of the students.”
School staff was expected to meet Friday afternoon and Hauchrog said the staff would be in communication with the students and parents regarding the investigation. She said Hotaling will be placed on paid administrative leave, but she wasn’t sure for how long.
“We are here for the students and let the investigation do what they need to do,” Hauchrog said. “That’s how the legal system works.”
Police state that the “investigation revealed the possibility of additional victims of a similar crime involving Hotaling,” according to a police press release.
After hearing that, Hauchrog said she is concerned that there could be other victims and “concern for what affects this is going to have on them.”
“This is a real ‘take the wind out of your sails’ kind of deal,” she said.
Repeated messages left with the Lake Havasu Police Department seeking more details on the case was not returned Friday.
Police ask anyone with information regarding additional victims to contact Detective Cindy Slack at 928-855-1171.