Ex-principal lost everything ‘because of a dark, secret life he was living’

Stephen Kyle Goodlett
Stephen Kyle Goodlett

The former principal accused of taking students’ photos from cellphones he confiscated wants dozens of state child porn charges dismissed because he pleaded guilty to two federal crimes.

Stephen Kyle Goodlett, who was raised in Lawrenceburg and later became a teacher at Elizabethtown High School and then principal of LaRue County High School, “is a broken man,” his attorney wrote in a federal court document filed Friday. “He is a also a sick man.”

Nevertheless, he decided days before his scheduled Monday trial that he wants to fight more than 60 state child-porn possession and distribution charges, claiming they amount to double jeopardy (trying him twice for the same crimes), according to court records.

Convictions on the state charges could significantly add to prison time Goodlett serves; he’s currently agreed to nine years in prison in exchange for his guilty plea in the federal case, according to court documents.

In the federal deal, Goodlett pleaded guilty in August to transporting child pornography and possessing child pornography that had been transported.

“His fall from grace was nothing short of catastrophic,” Goodlett’s Lexington attorney Christopher A. Spedding wrote in a document advocating the negotiated nine-year sentence in the federal case.

But U.S. District Judge David J. Hale postponed Goodlett’s Friday federal court sentencing because “the court requires additional time to consider whether to accept” the plea agreement, according to court records. That occurred after Goodlett indicated he was fighting the numerous state charges.

Goodlett admitted to police that he took the students’ images and shared them on a Russian website in trade for other images, according to court records. Goodlett possessed 436 images and 11 videos of child pornography when his phone, computer and storage drives were confiscated.

Police were alerted about Goodlett in September 2016 after a former student found nude photos of herself on a website that allowed users to post such images and identify the geographic area where the person photographed lived, court records said. First and last name initials also were allowed. The photos were taken on the woman’s cellphone when she was 15.

Police determined Goodlett uploaded the photos, court records show. Goodlett was assistant principal at LaRue County High School from July 2012 until he was promoted to principal in July 2013. He was fired Oct. 19, 2016.

Goodlett later told Kentucky State Police investigators that he confiscated students phones and transferred photos to his own devices or thumb drives, according to court documents.

A Hardin County grand jury issued its indictment on state charges in December 2016 and the federal indictment was released Jan. 4, according to court records and the U.S. attorney’s office.

“His fall from grace was nothing short of catastrophic,” Goodlett’s attorney Spedding wrote in a court document.

“He knows he has betrayed the trust of his community, his students, his colleagues and his family,” the sentencing memorandum said. “This case has destroyed his family.”

Goodlett is a parent of three young children. He has a pornography and sex addiction for which he has sought treatment while the criminal cases were underway, his attorney said.

“He had everything. And then he lost it because of a dark, secret life he was living. He lost his wife, his job, his profession, his standing in the community, and soon, he will lost (sic) his liberty.

“More importantly, he knows that he betrayed the trust and caused damage to the very kids that he was trained to protect. There is no way to assess how much punishment this is for Kyle.”

The News-Enterprise reported that eight adult women have filed a lawsuit against LaRue schools alleging Goodlett downloaded images from their confiscated cellphones while they were minor students. In addition, two former students have sued the Elizabethtown Independent School District alleging the same.