OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — A former St. Thomas Aquinas choir teacher charged with using a hidden camera to record female students, has agreed to a plea deal with the state.
But Wednesday’s plea hearing for Joseph Heidesch hit a roadblock late this afternoon. At issue in court today, is the fact Heidesch also faces at least two civil lawsuits filed by victims of families from St. Thomas Aquinas.
“It’s been a roller-coaster of emotions it’s been a lot of anxiety a lot of hurry up and wait a lot of unanswered questions when we needed answers,” said one victim’s mother.
That emotional roller coaster will continue — as a Johnson County Judge granted a continuance to a once-beloved choir teacher. Heidisch hoped to plead “no contest” but the prosecution’s plea agreement requires a guilty plea and the defendant’s attorney says he needs more time to relay that to those suing.
“It’s been difficult my range of emotions go from anger to sadness for my daughter,” she said.
This case, taking more than a year, the 45-year-old former educator at the Catholic private school was originally arrested for hiding a camera in a home — court records show.
Investigators then discovered he had hidden cameras in the school – and had catalogued videos and images of students who changed clothes in his office, over many school years.
The civil suits also allege wrongdoing by Saint Thomas Aquinas. The school denies those.
“How could you – how dare you do this to our children 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,” she said.
Heidesch remains in Georgia where the judge as allowed him to be while he is out on bond.
“There’s never going to be enough prison time where I would be found saying I’m satisfied with the amount of time given because there isn’t enough,” she said.
Heidesch new date for that plea hearing his set for December 12 at 3:30 p.m. The Judge saying at that time all must be in order — as this is the last time he will continue this case.
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