A Central Bucks School District teacher is headed to trial on charges he secretly filmed a former student at his house, claiming that prompted other former students to come forward with sexual assault accusations.
Joseph Ohrt, 56, of Buckingham waived his right to a preliminary hearing Tuesday on the first set of charges against him, alleging he used a hidden camera to record a former student undressing at his home, then attempted to destroy the evidence after police asking began questions last year.
The police investigation followed a call to ChildLine, the state’s child abuse reporting hotline, alleging Ohrt had sexually abused the former student five years earlier.
The former Central Bucks West High School choir director faces charges including possessing a device for intercepting communications, a felony, and misdemeanor offenses of tampering with evidence and invasion of privacy.
He faces a second preliminary hearing next month on misdemeanor charges of indecent assault involving a minor and corruption of minors involving alleged sexual contact with two students, an 11- and 13-year-old, in 1991 and 1995.
The now-adult victims in those cases came forward after the February arrest of Ohr, a teacher in the district for 34 years and chairman of the music department at the Doylestown Borough high school.
Ohrt has been on leave from his district job since October. In December the board approved a leave of absence that will last until his retirement takes effect on June 10.
In May 2021 authorities opened an investigation after a ChildLine report an alleged a former West student and choir member may have been sexually assaulted by Ohrt.
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In October, a month after detectives visited Ohrt’s home and left a business card when no one answered the door, a man who said he had been living with Ohrt appeared at the Central Bucks Regional Police department with items he alleged that Ohrt gave him with directions to dispose of them in a “nonpublic manner,” according to authorities.
The items included a laptop computer that the man alleged Ohrt ran under water before giving it to him, an external hard drive, clothing, wall cell phone charging blocks, and a clock. Authorities allege they found four hidden cameras and two SD cards among the items, authorities said.
The video captured on the SD card showed the student undressing in a room in Ohrt’s home, according to police. The victim said that he did not know the device was there, nor did he give consent to be recorded, court documents state.
Ohrt is free on bail.