Madison teacher pleads not guilty to federal child pornography charges

MADISON, Wis. — A Madison East High School business and marketing teacher facing federal child pornography charges for two incidents involving hidden recording devices pleaded not guilty Thursday.

According to a news release from the Wisconsin Department of Justice, David Kruchten, 37, of Cottage Grove, faces seven counts of child pornography for incidents on Oct. 27 and Jan. 20, 2019, that involved hidden recording devices.

The investigation follows an incident on a trip to Minneapolis that Kruchten chaperoned in which students found hidden cameras in their hotel room. The incidents on Oct. 27 also correlate with dates of a school trip Kruchten likely chaperoned.

David Kruchten booking photo

Kruchten was arrested at his home and had an initial appearance in a packed federal courtroom in Madison on Thursday.

During the hearing, Kruchten’s lawyer asked the judge for Kruchten to be confined at home on GPS monitoring with no access to computers while he awaits trial. Kruchten’s attorney  also said authorities haven’t recovered any images from devices they seized.

The prosecuting attorney argued that one of the reasons Kruchten shouldn’t be allowed pre-trial release is that he allegedly lied to police in Minneapolis and wouldn’t turn over tapes.

The judge denied the request for pre-trial release, but said it may be considered at a detention hearing in the case scheduled for 2 p.m. on Feb. 5.

Among the people packed into the courtroom Thursday was a group of teenage girls who identified themselves as alleged victims in the case. The girls cried during the hearing, which got louder when Kruchten pleaded not guilty.

If convicted, Kruchten faces a minimum penalty of 15 years in federal prison on each count.

During Kruchten’s tenure with East High School, he was nominated for the Red Apple Advisor Award for his role as adviser of the school’s DECA team.

“He is extremely well like(d) and revered at East and always carries a smile on his face,” the nomination said.

The nomination also lauds his time as a series director for state and district career development conferences for DECA.

The state DECA office verifies DECA advisers. Tim Fandek, the state DECA adviser, said they confirm picks from area school districts and double check the person has a marketing or business teaching license.

Fandek said the office takes applications for series directors for its state conferences and asks applicants to describe “past DECA leadership experiences at the local school district and DECA District Career Development Conference.”