Dowagiac man guilty of filming underage girl in showerPublished 11:50am Friday, December 7, 2012
CASSOPOLIS — A Dowagiac man found guilty of secretly videotaping an underage girl showering is facing the possibility of more than 20 years in prison.
A Cass County jury convicted James Heidenrech, 57, of 10 felonies, including child sexual abuse activity, eavesdropping and possession of child sexually abusive material Thursday.
“This defendant committed reprehensible acts against a child, his family and society,” Cass County Prosecutor Victor Fitz said. “But he cannot hide from these crimes.”
After more than two days of testimony and the presentation of evidence by Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Kirk Metzger, the jury took approximately three hours to find Heidenreich guilty.
During trial, the jury heard Heidenreich’s girlfriend found a DVR disk in the pocket of Heidenreich’s jacket containing images of a 17-year-old girl and close family friend showering in Heidenreich’s master bathroom. The defendant’s girlfriend also found video of Heidenreich placing a hidden camera in her daughter’s room.
During an investigation, police found numerous firearms and a marijuana grow operation in defendant’s pole barn behind the home.
Heidenreich took the stand and acknowledged the presence of the firearms and the marijuana plants, but denied any responsibility for growing them. He claimed he did not intend to set up a camera for the purpose of secretly filming a naked underage girl.
Heidenreich is guilty of 10 felonies including child sexually abusive activity, eavesdropping, possession of child sexually abusive material, manufacture of marijuana, maintaining a drug house and five counts of felony firearm. The jury also found him guilty of an additional misdemeanor count of possession of marijuana.
The defendant is facing up to a 20-year maximum for his conviction for child sexually abusive materials. This minimum sentence will be served consecutive to a mandatory two years in prison as the result of his felony firearm convictions
Heidenreich was living in the 27000 block of Swamp St. in Dowagiac at the time of the crime.
Sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 1 in front of Cass Circuit Judge Michael Dodge.