Former Coach Sentenced in OKC Child Porn Case

After pleading guilty to seven felony counts in June, a former Western Heights High School girls' softball coach was sentenced yesterday.  Michael Gene Hedestad, 46, was accused of taking clandestine video of students in the girls' locker room as well as possessing up to eighty revealing or suggestive photos of students and cheerleaders on his cell phone.  Oklahoma County District Court Judge Ray C. Elliott sentenced Hedestad to fifteen years in prison and seventeen years of probation. An Oklahoma child porn lawyer representing Hedestad claimed that his client was an otherwise upstanding citizen who struggled with porn addiction.  He asked a judge for a suspended sentence for Hedestad, saying the defendant had already taken necessary "steps to change his behavior."  Judge Elliot disagreed with letters of support for Hedestad, saying that the defendant lacked moral character and was an embarrassment to the teaching profession.  Although Hedestad's offenses were eligible for life in prison, the judge handed down a sentence of fifteen years followed by a lengthy probation. Formerly a teacher and softball coach at Western Heights High School in Oklahoma City, Hedestad was fired in December 2009 after officials found adult pornography on his school computer.  The coach who replaced Hedestad at the high school notified authorities in May 2010, when he found video equipment and tapes in the softball room and discovered that the tapes contained secret footage of players undressing in the locker room.  During an investigation, police allegedly discovered not only the cell phone images and video of students, but Hedestad also admitted to having as many as 100 images of child pornography on his home computer. The former coach acknowledged his addiction and apologized to his victims. In a similar story, another Oklahoma teacher is awaiting trial on child pornography charges after she allegedly photographed her third grade students in their underwear and shared the images with a former education professor.  Earlier this week, a Pottawatomie County District Court judge was expected to set a trial date for former McCloud Elementary teacher Kimberly Crain, 49, and Gary Doby, 66.  However, both Crain and Doby waived their right to a speedy trial and asked that the trial be set for a later date.  Crain's defense lawyer said that he needed more time to line up expert witness testimony.  Doby's attorney said that she does not expect the case to go to trial before the beginning of 2013.  Both Crain and Doby are due back in court for a hearing on October 2.

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