South suburban band teacher charged for sharing child porn

JOLIET, Ill. (WLS) -- Kevin Macha led Joliet's chapter of the American Legion to second place in a national band competition this summer and taught 5th-12th graders in Braidwood. All the while, prosecutors say, he was viewing and sharing child pornography online.

"He was very charismatic. He was very exacting. He prepared the band well," said Brian Heerdt, president of the Joliet American Legion band.

Band members said they were not aware of what Macha was allegedly doing online, behind closed doors: viewing and sharing child pornography on social media sites, according to investigators.

"Our experience with Kevin has always been professional. He's been an outstanding musician and never shown any inkling of what he's been accused of," Heerdt said.

Macha's alleged porn habit tripped the radar of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children back in June, investigators said. The investigation was transferred to Will County officials in August.

All the while Macha was teaching 5th through 12th grade students as a band teacher at Reed Custer schools in Braidwood.

"Prior to his employment, School District administrators thoroughly vetted Mr. Macha's references and prior work history and found nothing that would preclude his employment in the school setting," the school district said in a statement.

Macha has been suspended without pay, according to district officials.

"We were saying, 'We never thought we'd have to do a background check on a teacher,'" Heerdt said. "It wouldn't have mattered, he would have passed it."

The Joliet American Legion band is now without a conductor.

"There wasn't any other decision we could make. We have to protect the band. We have to protect the people in the band," Heerdt said.

Macha is due in court Wednesday.
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