Pianist Sentenced to 12 Years in Child Sex Case

Joseph Lee Hedderich, 36, of Culver City, was arrested in Pacific Palisades in 2011 after he showed up at an 11-year-old girl's house with flowers after sending her nude photographs of himself online.

A pianist that worked at top arts schools throughout Los Angeles was sentenced Wednesday to 12 years behind bars for using a computer to try to start a sexual relationship with an 11-year-old student in the Los Angeles Ballet's summer dance program.

Joseph Lee Hedderich, 36, of Culver City, was also ordered by U.S. District Judge John F. Walter to serve a lifetime of supervised release after he leaves federal prison, according to Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Dore.

Hedderich acknowledged that as a pianist for last year's summer program, he corresponded with the girl through text and email messages that included nude photos of himself, according to a plea agreement filed in Los Angeles federal court.

The girl's parents discovered the material and contacted the Los Angeles Police Department, federal prosecutors said.

Posing as the girl, detectives from the LAPD's Sexually Exploited Child Unit set up a "date'' with Hedderich, and he was arrested Sept. 1, 2011, when he showed up at her house in Pacific Palisades with a bouquet of flowers, intending to drive her back to his home, according to court documents.

Hedderich had been employed as an independent musical contractor at the Colburn School of Performing Arts, The Westside Academy of Dance, The California Institute of the Arts and the Los Angeles Ballet.

He was initially charged in state court last year with one count each of attempted lewd act upon a child, meeting a minor for lewd purposes, sending harmful matter and contact with a minor for a sexual offense.

The District Attorney's Office subsequently dropped the charges, clearing the way for Los Angeles federal prosecutors to handle the case.


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