School worker arrested for alleged child enticement in online sex sting

Cody Holyoke

School worker arrested for alleged child enticement in online sex sting

CREATED Mar. 25, 2013

GREENFIELD - Parents are voicing their frustration after learning a man who worked at their children’s school was busted for enticing children.

Moms and dads called for a meeting with school officials because they feel left in the dark after learning about some chilling accusations from their kids, but not from administrators.

"Twenty questions were raised,” said Superintenden Lowell Holtz. “Each one will be addressed."

It's a game of 20 questions, but parents say it shouldn't even be necessary.

Information surrounding the arrest of James Heidke, the school system's food services director. Milwaukee Police arrested him in February in a sting operation for soliciting a detective, who was posing as a 15-year-old boy, for sex.

"I would have loved to put that information out ahead of time," said Holtz.

Superintendent Holtz found out about the arrest two days after it happened, but he waited eight days before telling parents.

"Because of the assurances we received that no one in our district was involved or in danger, we wanted to make sure we had complete and accurate information before sharing that with parents,” said Holtz.

"My daughter found out on Facebook," said a school board member.

Parents, who learned through social media and news reports, questioned the decision.

"How it's not paramount to notify the parents of kids in this school that somebody's been arrested of a sexual offense of any kind, that's the lack of judgment I question," said Michael Clarizio, a father.

The superintendent maintains Heidke had limited contact with students in the cafeteria, but he did interact with them. For that reason alone, moms and dads say the administration should conduct its own investigation into the man's three years at Whitnall.

"Children who have gone on and gone to college could have been affected. You don't know that,” said mother Lisa Treuer. “Why wouldn't you investigate yourself?"

"It didn't occur to me to do it right away," the superintendent said.

Holtz did ask for Heidke's computer data to be saved, and he's also cooperating with police. But it's the decision to stay silent that leaves parents wanting more.

"This district did nothing wrong,” said Quin Brunette, a school board member. “But once we made a decision not to do anything, that's when all the problem started."

Heidke worked for an outside company before he was fired, but they did reportedly perform a background check on him in 2010. The Whitnall School System will now work with Greenfield police to get better information faster.

 

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