MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A Wisconsin high school teacher was charged Thursday with seven federal counts of attempting to create child pornography by secretly recording minors twice last year. The charges follow an investigation triggered by the discovery of hidden cameras that were planted in the Minneapolis hotel room of students he was chaperoning on a business club trip.
David Kruchten, a teacher at Madison East High School, was indicted by a federal grand jury on Wednesday and arrested at his home in the Madison suburb of Cottage Grove on Thursday morning, according to U.S. Attorney Scott Blader.
Kruchten, 37, was placed on leave in December after the students found the hidden cameras and the investigation was launched. No attorney was listed for Kruchten in the online case file. He was scheduled to make an initial appearance Thursday afternoon in federal court in Madison.
If convicted, Kruchten faces 15 to 30 years in federal prison on each count.
“This indictment alleges criminal conduct that is an unconscionable betrayal of trust,” state Attorney General Josh Kaul said in a statement. “We will continue working to ensure that there is full accountability for the crimes alleged in this case.”
The indictment charges Kruchten with six counts of attempting to produce child pornography involving six different minors on Oct. 27, 2019, and one count of attempting to produce it with a seventh minor on Jan. 20, 2019, using hidden recording devices that had been moved across state lines. It was not immediately clear where the alleged recordings that led to the charges were made. The state Department of Justice previously asked parents for information about other trips involving the business club, other than the one in December to Minneapolis.
“This news is incredibly disturbing to the (school district) family and our community,” said interim superintendent Jane Belmore in a statement. She said the district will do everything it can to offer support to both students and the community “through this unimaginably challenging time.”