MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) -- A Madison East High School teacher is facing seven federal child pornography charges after investigators say he used hidden recording devices.
David Kruchten (Source: Dane Co. Sheriff's Office)
In court Thursday, David M. Kruchten pleaded not guilty to the charges. The judge denied his request for pre-trial release, but said the issue will be revisited next week.
He was arrested hours earlier at his Cottage Grove home and will appear in U.S. District Court in Madison later in the day.
Interim Superintendent Jane Belmore called the incident "incredibly disturbing and assured the Madison East and district community they will do their best to stand by the students.
"We want to assure you that MMSD will do everything we can do to support our students and community through this unimaginably challenging time," she said.
According to U.S. Attorney Scott Blader, the 37-year-old was attempting to use a minor for child pornography in Wisconsin using “hidden recording devices” on Oct. 27, 2019 and on Jan. 20, 2019.
"This indictment alleges criminal conduct that is an unconscionable betrayal of trust,” said Attorney General Josh Kaul. “My office is committed to vigorously investigating those who target children and prosecuting them to the fullest extent of the law."
If convicted, Kruchten faces a mandatory minimum 15 years in prison. The maximum penalty would be 30 years in federal prison on each of the counts.
The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction confirmed to NBC15 that Kruchten's teaching license is under investigation. Because the investigation is ongoing, however, the agency is keeping all other information under investigation.
Back in early December, a group of Madison East High School students were in Minneapolis for a field trip when they found hidden cameras in their hotel rooms.
NBC15 reached out to the U.S. Attorney's Office to ask if Kruchten's charges are related to that trip. Staff said they could not confirm that information.
The charges against him are the result of an investigation by the Wisconsin Department of Justice Division of Criminal Investigation, the Minneapolis Police Department, and the Cottage Grove Police Department.