Arrested St. Thomas Aquinas choir director facing sex crime, breach of privacy charges

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OLATHE, Kan. — A day after Shawnee police arrested a St. Thomas Aquinas High School teacher, Johnson County prosecutors filed four charges against Joseph Heidesch.

The choir director who’s now on leave faces two counts of sexual exploitation of a child and two counts of breach of privacy according to a criminal complaint filed Thursday.

Heidesch, 45, is due to appear in court Thursday at 1:30 p.m., jail records say he currently has no bond. FOX4’s John Pepitone reported on this story Thursday morning:


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St. Thomas Aquinas President Brian Schenck sent an email to families following the director’s arrest:

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.

FOX4 is following developments with this story and will report more as we confirm more details.


UPDATE: Johnson County prosecutors file formal charges against Joseph Heidesch

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