MILWAUKEE — Federal prosecutors in Wisconsin have accused a former Tomah High School principal of swapping online messages with an undercover police officer posing as a 14-year-old boy and reserving a whirlpool suite for a sexual encounter with him.
David Hay, 39, was charged Thursday in federal court with child enticement and possession of child pornography. A judge in Green Bay set a preliminary hearing for Jan. 14 and placed Hay on electronic home monitoring. Hay was arrested Sunday at Milwaukee’s General Mitchell International Airport.
Online federal court records didn’t list an attorney for Hay as of early Friday afternoon.
Hay, of Brooklyn, New York, was serving as deputy chief of staff for Richard Carranza, the schools chancellor for New York City’s Department of Education, when he was arrested. The New York City Department of Education fired Hay after his arrest.
Matthew Krueger, the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, said in a statement Friday that Hay began corresponding in July on a dating app with someone he believed was a 14-year-old boy living in Neenah, Wisconsin. That person was actually an undercover police investigator.
Hay and the investigator traded sexually explicit conversations for months and made plans to meet for sex, according to court documents unsealed Friday.
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Hay eventually reserved a whirlpool suite at a Neenah hotel for an encounter with the boy on Saturday night. He canceled the meeting at the last minute, however, messaging the investigator, who was still posing as the boy, that his mother had fallen down the stairs and that he was scheduled to fly out of the state on Sunday.
A search of Hay’s phone revealed sexually explicit images of a former Tomah, Wisconsin, high school student, according to court documents and the U.S. attorney’s statement. Hay served as principal at Tomah High School from 2011 to 2014.
"There were no known accusations of inappropriate or illegal behavior by Mr. Hay during his tenure in Tomah," Tomah Area School District superintendent Cindy Zahrte said Friday. "The Tomah Area School District will fully cooperate with any law enforcement investigation if such a request is made."
Hay left Wisconsin in 2014 to attend the Doctor of Education program at the Harvard University Graduate School of Education.
Hay left Wisconsin to attend the Doctor of Education program at the Harvard University Graduate School of Education.
Before that, he was an administrator at Kettle Moraine High School in southeastern Wisconsin.
Hay faces between 10 years and life in prison if he’s convicted of facilitating a child sex crime. He faces up to 10 years behind bars if he’s convicted of the child pornography count.