JOHNSON COUNTY, KS (KCTV) -- St. Thomas Aquinas High School's choir director has been placed on leave after being charged with four felonies in Johnson County, including secretly videotaping a child in the nude, according to charging documents in the case.

Joseph Heidesch, 45, was arrested Wednesday and charged Thursday with two counts of sexual exploitation of a child and two counts of breach of privacy. All of those counts are felonies.

The charging documents do not go into detail, but said that Heidesch used "a concealed camcorder, motion picture camera or photographic camera...to secretly videotape" two separate victims in the nude without their consent.

The court documents state at least two of those instances happened in 2019, and one of them involved a teenager. 

The documents do not say if any of the alleged victims were students of Heidesch.

Shawnee police arrested Heidesch, but police said they could release no further information, as the case has already been forwarded to the prosecutor's office for charges, which came mid-morning on Thursday.

Heidesch is set to appear in front of a magistrate early Thursday afternoon to hear the charges against him. He remains in the Johnson County jail on $250,000 bond, according to online jail records.

The president of St. Thomas Aquinas school sent a letter out to parents following Heidesch's arrest, saying, in full:

Dear Saint Thomas Aquinas Community,

This morning we learned one of our teachers, Choir Director Mr. Joe Heidesch, was arrested. Mr. Heidesch has been placed on administrative leave from Saint Thomas Aquinas pending a police investigation. We send this communication in the spirit of transparency and care for our community.

We recognize while you may have questions, this matter is in the hands of civil authorities. We will share additional information as we are able. Our focus at this point is to support the spiritual and academic needs of our students.

With this type of news, it is important to assure our students their safety and well-being are our top priority. We encourage you to take this opportunity to talk with your children and allow them to process the information in a safe and supportive environment.

Please be assured the performing arts program will continue with our full support. While we are saddened and concerned by this development, we are reminded of the importance of our faith and of the strength of our community. We care deeply about our students and will carefully monitor the situation and tend to their needs.

Please keep our community in your prayers and know you are in ours.

KCTV5.com is now with you on the go! Get the latest news updates and video, StormTrack5 weather forecast, weather radar, special investigative reports, sports headlines and much more from KCTV5 News. 

>> Click/tap here to download our free mobile app. <<


Copyright 2021 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.

Recommended for you

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.