VICKSBURG (WWJ/AP) - A school principal in southwestern Michigan has been charged with sexually abusing a male student.
Kalamazoo County authorities charged Greg Tibbetts with 13 felony counts related to criminal sexual activity and using a computer to view and distribute sexually abusive material.
Tibbetts, a 42-year-old married father of three, pleaded not guilty to the charges earlier this week. Defense attorney Mike Hills said the charges are "life-altering," so it's a difficult time for Tibbetts.
Tibbetts has been principal at Vicksburg Middle School, 20 miles south of Kalamazoo, for nine years. He was placed on leave in late September when the district was first notified that he was under investigation.
Vicksburg Superintendent Charles Glaes told the Kalamazoo Gazette the victim was a 13-year-old student at Tibbetts' school when the alleged abuse began in 2010. Prosecutors say the relationship appeared to continue into this year. The victim is now 16-years-old.
According to court documents, Tibbetts took the teenage boy "under his wing" and the relationship unfolded to include exchanges of sexually explicit text messages.
Tibbetts "also possessed a large quantity of child porn on his iPad," which was owned by Vicksburg Community Schools, according to testimony from Detective Sgt. Rich Mattison of the Kalamazoo County Sheriff's Office.
Tibbetts also used the iPad to watch the teen perform a sex act in front of a computer, Mattison testified.
Glaes, who called the charges "terribly serious," said Tibbetts is a "trusted and very capable" principal.
Tibbetts was freed on a $10,000 cash bond, under the conditions that he avoids all use of computers, has no contact with the victim and no contact with anyone under age 16 -- except for his own children.
He's due back in court on Nov. 8 for a preliminary examination.
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