OLATHE, Kan. — A former St. Thomas Aquinas choir teacher accused of recording female students with a hidden camera has pleaded guilty to over 25 charges.
Joseph Heidesch plead guilty to one count of sexual exploitation of a child and 25 counts of breach of privacy Monday during a virtual court hearing.
Multiple charges were dropped as part of the plea agreement.
The plea agreement also calls for Heidesch to serve 68 months, or 5 years and eight months, in a Kansas prison. His sentencing hearing is set for April 17.
The 45-year-old former educator was originally charged last year with two counts of sexual exploitation of a child and two counts of breach of privacy. Prosecutors accused him of hiding a camera in a Johnson County home, court records show.
A month later, prosecutors charged Heidesch with two additional counts of sexually exploiting a child.
This summer, prosecutors charged the former choir teacher with 24 more counts of breach of privacy.
Court documents say investigators discovered he had hidden cameras in the Catholic school and had catalogued videos and images of students who changed clothes in his office.
Prosecutors said there were 100 possible victims in this case, but only 25 resulted in charges.
“How could you? How dare you do this to our children?” one victim’s mother previously told FOX4. “And I’m not just speaking about my child. I’m speaking about every victim and their families in this case. How could do this? How could you?”
Heidesch also faces at least two civil lawsuits that victims’ families have filed. The civil suits also allege wrongdoing by St. Thomas Aquinas, but the private Catholic school denies those allegations.
This plea hearing was originally scheduled for last month, but was delayed. The case has now taken over a year to play out.
Heidesch is currently in Georgia where the judge has allowed him to stay while he’s out on bond.
FOX4 will have more coverage during our Monday evening newscasts.
📲 Download the FOX4 News app to stay updated on the go.
📧 Sign up for FOX4 email alerts to have breaking news sent to your inbox.
💻 Find today’s top stories on fox4kc.com for Kansas City and all of Kansas and Missouri.