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Friday, June 21, 2024

Madison East High School teacher charged with attempting to produce child pornography

Madison East High School teacher David Kruchten was charged Wednesday in federal court with attempting to produce child pornography, after coming under scrutiny in December when students found cameras in their hotel rooms during a school trip. 

Kruchten, 37, business teacher and Distributive Education Clubs of America advisor, was arrested Thursday morning at his Cottage Grove home and made his initial court appearance Thursday afternoon, pleading not guilty. 

District of Wisconsin and Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul announced an indictment charging Kruchten Thursday, which Madison Metropolitan School District learned of the same day. 

“This news is incredibly disturbing to the MMSD family and our community,” interim Superintendent Jane Belmore said in the statement. “We want to assure you that MMSD will do everything we can do to support our students and community through this unimaginably challenging time.”

The release states the charges follow an investigation by the Wisconsin Department of Justice Division of Criminal Investigation, the Cottage Grove Police Department and the Minneapolis Police Department. 

“This indictment alleges criminal conduct that is an unconscionable betrayal of trust,” Attorney General Josh Kaul said in a press statement. “Thank you to everyone whose hard work resulted in today’s arrest. We will continue working to ensure that there is full accountability for the crimes alleged in this case.”

Kruchten was originally placed on administrative leave after the DECA program’s trip to Minneapolis in December, during which multiple students found hidden video recording devices in their hotel rooms. 

The indictment charges Kruchten with seven counts of attempting to produce child pornography involving seven different victims.

Each count is punishable between 15 and 30 years in prison.

Kruchten's teaching license is currently under investigation by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction. Because the investigation is ongoing, the department is not disclosing any information pertaining to the case. 

School district officials have offered counseling and other services to the alleged victims — though as of Thursday, Kruchten remained employed with the district and still on administrative leave.

“Together, as a community, East High School and the MMSD community will get through this by pulling together in support of one another, and do what is best for our students,” Belmore said. 

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A detention hearing to determine if Kruchten will be released with conditions or held until his trial is set for Wednesday, Feb. 5. 

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Addison Lathers

Addison Lathers is the Editor in Chief of The Daily Cardinal. She has covered city and campus news and held two editor positions. Follow her on Twitter at @addisonlathers.

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