Allegan Co. principal resigns amid sex charges

Allegan County
JONATHAN GARCIA-020316_187476

ALLEGAN, Mich. (WOOD) — A principal with Allegan Area Educational Services Agency (AAESA) resigned on Friday following his arrest for criminal sexual conduct with two staff members.

Jonathon Eugene Garcia resigned from his positions as administrator of the Hillside Learning and Behavior Center in Allegan, the Young Adult Campus in Otsego, and the Sensory Program in Martin.

Garcia received notice that the Allegan Area Educational Service Agency Board of Education was going to terminate his contract earlier this week, according to a press release from AAESA.

Last week, Garcia was arraigned on three counts of third-degree criminal sexual conduct, three counts of fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct and five counts of fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct involving two separate victims, according to a news release from the Allegan County Sheriff’s Department.

The investigation began after the superintendent’s office notified police of allegations of inappropriate contact between Garcia, 34, and staff members, the release said.

According to court records, two female employees said Garcia sexually assaulted them between September 2015 and January. They said he was forceful and put his hands on their private parts on numerous occasions.

Deputies say both victims are adults and that there is no indication that there was any misconduct involving students.

Former Hillside Principal Robin Lavender and former Hopkins Superintendent Chris Stephens will serve as interim administrators at all three campuses. AAESA says they will work to fill the full-time position this spring.

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