CB West Choir Director charged with filming former student as he undressed

The choir director at Central Bucks West High School is being charged with hiding cameras inside a bedroom of his home to record a former student as he undressed.

Joseph Ohrt, 56, of Buckingham Township, is facing one count of interception, disclosure, or use of wire, electronic or oral communications and four counts of possession, sale, distribution, manufacture, or advertisement of electronic, mechanical, or other devices and telecommunication identification interception devises. All five counts are felonies of the third degree.

Ohrt is also facing misdemeanor charges of invasion of privacy and tampering with or fabricating physical evidence.

He was arrested on Tuesday and arraigned by Magisterial District Judge Maggie Snow who set his bail at $50,000, 10 percent. As conditions of his bail, he was ordered to have no contact with the victim, no contact with any individuals mentioned in the affidavit, and cannot be alone with anyone under the age of 18.

Detectives with the Central Bucks Regional Police Department and the Bucks County District Attorney’s Office began an investigation on May 9, 2021, following a Childline referral intake report alleging the potential sexual assault of a former student by Ohrt, a teacher and choir director at Central Bucks West High School.

The victim was identified as a former male student and choir member at the high school who graduated in 2016. The victim said during his junior year of high school, Ohrt began mentoring him in composing music. He said some of Ohrt’s actions when they were alone made him feel uncomfortable and described their relationship as “conflicted,” according to a criminal complaint.

He said Ohrt would sometimes come up behind him and hug him, tell him that he loved him and inappropriately touch him.

He said after he graduated high school, he maintained a close relationship with Ohrt and even moved into a bedroom at Ohrt’s house. When he was about 19, he went with Ohrt to New York City to watch a Broadway show, and they shared a hotel room and even the same bed during the trip. He said Ohrt bought a bottle of wine during the trip that they both drank.

The two also attended a choir convention in Kansas City. During the trip, they smoked marijuana and drank alcohol.

When he was asleep, he was awakened by Ohrt placing his hand down his pants. Ohrt made sexual advances toward him, but the victim declined. The incident in Kansas City made the victim believe Ohrt only befriended him in high school because he wanted a sexual relationship.

On Sept. 30, 2021, detectives went to Ohrt’s house at 3979 York Road in Buckingham Township. No one answered knocks on the door, and Central Bucks Regional Police Detective Sergeant Paul Kreuter left his business card in the door.

A month later, on Oct. 29, 2021, a young man who was living at Ohrt’s house came to the Central Bucks Regional Police Department with property he said Ohrt gave to him to destroy. Detectives investigating the case collected numerous items from him.

That man said he moved into a bedroom in Ohrt’s house in the beginning of 2021. He said about a month ago, he came home and found a detective’s business card in the door. He asked Ohrt about the business card, and Ohrt said he did not know why it was left there.

However, on the evening of Oct. 26, 2021, the man said Ohrt told him he needed him out of the house by the weekend, without any notice or further explanation.

The next day, the man began loading his van. As he packed, Ohrt gave him some bags and other items, including a silver Acer laptop computer, to take with him. Ohrt told him that he watched porn on the Acer computer, but he ran the computer under water and asked him to dispose of everything in “a nonpublic manner.”

The man was unaware of any police investigation but was suspicious of what Ohrt asked him to do and wanted nothing to do with destroying the computer or any of the other items Ohrt placed in his van, so he took them to the police station.

In addition to the computer, the three bags contained a number of other items, including thong and boxer style underwear, a catholic schoolgirl uniform costume, an external hard drive, miscellaneous pieces of art, and four hidden camera devices.

The laptop computer and the external hard were taken to the Federal Bureau of lnvestigation’s Regional Computer Forensic Laboratory for analysis.

The lab confirmed the laptop had been placed in water, but they were able to retrieve information from the computer and the external hard drive. Detectives reviewed the recovered data and noted they contained numerous pornographic images and videos. That review is pending further analysis.

Detectives reviewed two memory cards found in the hidden cameras, and one of them contained audio and video of Ohrt’s former student. One video showed the victim naked as he changed his clothing.

The Bucks County District Attorney's Office is asking any other victims to come forward by contacting the Central Bucks Regional Police Department at 215-345-4143 or Bucks County Detectives at 215-348-6354. They can also submit a tip through our CrimeWatch site, BUCKSDA.ORG. 

This case was investigated by Detective Sergeant Paul Kreuter of the Central Bucks Regional Police Department and Detective Greg Beidler of the Bucks County Detectives and is assigned for prosecution to Assistant District Attorney Brittney Kern.  

Media Contact: Manuel Gamiz Jr., 215.348.6298, mgamiz@buckscounty.org.

Criminal charges are allegations subject to proof in court. Defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. 

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PDF icon Joseph Ohrt Criminal Complaint696.96 KB