A former Madison East High School teacher, David Krutchen, was sentenced Friday to 12 years in prison for secretly recording students in various states of undress during overnight field trips.
U.S. District Judge James Peterson found in court that Krutchen engaged in “sustained and masterful manipulation,” using his position as a business teacher to secretly record members of the school’s business club while on field trips in the Wisconsin Dells and Minneapolis.
Krutchen pled guilty this past August to one count of attempting to produce child pornography and one count of producing child pornography across state lines.
According to court documents, students discovered multiple cameras in their hotel rooms while at a business club conference in December 2019. Cameras had been planted inside of air fresheners and smoke detectors according to ABC News.
During the sentencing hearing, 17 students, parents and teachers described Krutchen’s behavior as “grooming,” and many said they struggled with guilt, anxiety and depression.
“These past two years have been impossible to get through,” said one victim. “[Krutchen] made me feel like I was no longer human.”
Krutchen submitted an eight-page letter to the court stating that he had started spying on his family and friends “to deal with stress and fulfill a need for adrenaline” before surveilling his underage students.
Krutchen claimed that his intentions were “scientific,” not sexual.
“That was not my goal when I went into teaching and it was not my goal when I started on this course of behavior,” Kruchten wrote. “My goal was not a collection of child pornography. My interest in these voyeuristic videos was not to capture students engaged in sex acts, my interest was the same (as) it was with my grandparents, and my pets and my wife — to see what people do when I’m not there.”
In addition to 12 years in prison, Krutchen was also sentenced to 20 years of supervised release and will be a registered sex offender.
During the sentencing hearing, Peterson stated that he feels the sentence is in the best interest of the victims and greater Madison community.
“He’s [Krutchen] not a relentlessly evil person, but he’s deeply flawed,” Peterson said. “My responsibility is to the victims, the community and Mr. Kruchten. I have to look out for the rights of everyone in the room.”