Shock and anger after St. Thomas Aquinas choir director charged with sex crime

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OVERLAND PARK, Kan. – A beloved music teacher appeared in a Johnson County courtroom Thursday, answering to charges he used a concealed camera to record lewd videos.

Joseph Heidesch, a longtime choir teacher at St. Thomas Aquinas High School, is charged with two counts of sexually exploiting a child and two counts of breaching the privacy of others.

Heidesch made his first appearance in court on Thursday afternoon. He didn’t enter a plea to those charges. Heidesch is being held on a $250,000 bond.

Court documents accuse Heidesch of hiding cameras in a Johnson County home to record lewd images of people without their knowing or permission.

Parents at the Catholic high school were saddened upon hearing news of his arrest on Wednesday night.

“To hear the allegations is very shocking. It’s quite disturbing,” said David Miller, the father of one Aquinas student. “Adults should not do this to children.”

A judge ordered Heidesch to avoid contact with children.

Steve Howe, Johnson County Attorney, said police are trying to determine how far the allegations against Heidesch might extend.

“I know there’s a lot of people who have kids who attend St. Thomas Aquinas and they’re concerned. I just ask them to be patient. I know it’s frustrating, but let law enforcement do its job,” Howe said.

Howe said police in Overland Park and Shawnee are investigating and trying to determined if this case affects more minors, or perhaps, more people who were recorded without their permission.

Heidesch is due back in court on Oct. 27. If he’s convicted, he faces more than 20 years in prison.

Editor’s note: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated the high school’s parish affiliation. St. Thomas Aquinas does not affiliate with a parish. This story has been updated. FOX4 apologizes for the error.

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