Joseph Ohrt, head of the music department at Central Bucks High School West, was arrested Tuesday and charged with illegally recording video of a former student, police said.
The former student, who graduated in 2016, was a choir student in Ohrt’s class. Police said that he lived with Ohrt when he attended college.
Police said the video was recorded in the guest bedroom of Ohrt’s home in Buckingham Township. Police said another person who subsequently lived with Ohrt gave police evidence, including four hidden-camera devices. One device contained a storage card which had video of the victim exposed while changing clothes in the bedroom, police said.
Ohrt, 56, was charged with a felony wiretap violation, felony possession of wiretap equipment, and misdemeanor counts of tampering with evidence and invasion of privacy without consent.
Ohrt, who also is the director of choral activities at the high school, gained attention last year by helping to create a music video with student singers dedicated to superstar music performer Pink, who was a student of Ohrt’s when she attended Central Bucks West in the 1990s. Pink praised the music video and acknowledged Ohrt in a Tweet.
Officials at the high school and school district could not be reached for comment. Ohrt’s biography page on the high school website was made inaccessible late Tuesday afternoon.
Police said the victim, during his junior year at the high school, was mentored by Ohrt in composing music followed by monthly visits to Ohrt’s home. In the police criminal complaint, the victim described unwanted touching by Ohrt that began in high school.
The investigation began last May, police said. In October, a second male who lived in Ohrt’s home provided the Central Bucks Regional Police Department with property, including a laptop, that Ohrt allegedly instructed him to destroy in a “nonpublic manner.”
The laptop, which police allege Ohrt attempted to destroy by soaking it in water, was sent to the FBI’s Regional Computer Forensic Laboratory for analysis. Police said the laptop, despite the attempt to destroy it, contained evidence that was pending further analysis.
Ohrt was being held late Tuesday at the Bucks County Correctional facility on $50,000 bail, court records show.
Anyone with information related to the case or other victims can contact the Central Bucks Regional Police Department at 215-345-4143 or Detective Sgt. Paul Kreuter at firstname.lastname@example.org.