The East High School teacher charged with attempting to create child pornography while on school field trips has resigned.
Madison Metropolitan School District interim superintendent Jane Belmore announced David Kruchten’s resignation in a letter to East families Friday afternoon.
“Recently, as a result of developments with the criminal investigation, MMSD central office was given notice to begin its internal investigation into the Minneapolis DECA incident, specifically as it relates to the conduct of Mr. Kruchten,” Belmore wrote. “Shortly after communicating our intent to begin this process, we were informed of Mr. Kruchten’s decision to resign effective immediately.”
Students on a field trip to Minneapolis for the business and marketing-focused DECA club in December found hidden cameras in their rooms. Kruchten was an adviser for the group.
District officials had said they were waiting for the state Department of Justice to give them the go-ahead on an internal investigation. Kruchten had been on administrative leave until his resignation.
Following the December incident, police exercised a warrant on Kruchten’s house and he was later charged in federal court in Wisconsin with seven counts for two separate incidents — one in October 2019 and the other in January 2019. He was charged for the Minneapolis incident in Hennepin County Court in Minnesota.
The Wisconsin charges, to which Kruchten entered a not guilty plea during his initial court appearance in January, each carry a sentence of 15 to 30 years if convicted. The three Minnesota charges for interfering with a minor’s privacy each carry an up to two year sentence if convicted.
The court set a September trial date for Kruchten earlier this month. Assistant U.S. Attorney Elizabeth Altman acknowledged during the Feb. 20 scheduling proceeding that more charges could be coming, but they were “still investigating that and we’re still doing forensics” on devices. Altman said the charges would likely be the same as those already filed but for different dates.
As a result of Mr. Kruchten’s resignation, the internal administrative review into his individual conduct as an MMSD employee is now closed.
Belmore wrote in her letter that “the district has secured an external, independent third party to conduct a full review of the overall response including any related practices and protocols.”
“We take seriously our responsibility to understand every detail of this case to make sure that our system is as strong as it can possibly be to keep our students safe,” she wrote.
East interim principal Brendan Kearney recently was promoted to the full-time position. But several School Board members expressed concerns over the promotion without an investigation into his handling of the Minnesota incident, Isthmus reported earlier this week.
According to the probable cause statement in the Minnesota case, students turned in the devices they found in their bathrooms to Kruchten on the night of Dec. 7. He was delayed in turning them into the hotel for hours, during which time he was caught on camera outside of the hotel with some of the devices, which were disguised as air fresheners and thermostats, according to the statement.
Police were not called to the hotel until a parent called them the morning of Dec. 8.
Belmore said the district will continue to cooperate with the authorities.
“MMSD will continue to work in full cooperation with investigating authorities, and in collaboration with the Department of Justice will continue to focus on supporting our students — those who took part in field trips and those students who may be struggling with this incident,” she wrote.