No penalty for former Northern High band director
Northern High School's former band director has pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor offense for his relationship with a 17-year-old girl who at the time was his student. He and the woman are now married.
"They just want to move on with their lives," defense attorney Rick Robinson said. He noted the girl was nearly 18 years old when she and Leidhecker began a relationship in 2013.
Leidhecker, 29, appeared in York County Court on May 3, 2016, where he pleaded no contest to misdemeanor corruption of a minor. As part of a negotiated plea agreement, no punishment or penalty was imposed against him, other than being ordered to pay court costs.
The specific section of corruption of a minor to which Leidhecker pleaded is considered nonsexual, meaning Leidhecker doesn't have to register with the state as part of Megan's Law.
All other charges against him were dropped.
Can't teach: The conviction does, however, prevent him from being hired as a teacher ever again, said deputy prosecutor Tara Wikhian.
"Ultimately the commonwealth's biggest concern is that he not be able to teach again," she said.
Robinson confirmed that won't happen.
"He's not going back into the teaching field," the attorney said. "He has job offers in L.A. and Ireland."
Leidhecker is an award-winning composer. He arranges and composes music for marching bands and music programs around the United States, according to his website.
'Bottom line': After the hearing, Wikhian said the plea agreement had nothing to do with the fact that Leidhecker and the girl are getting married, or that her parents supported Leidhecker in court, or that the girl was nearly 18 when she and Leidhecker became involved.
"The bottom line is, what he was doing at the time was a crime," she said.
Leidhecker held a position of authority over the girl and therefore broke the law by being involved with her, Wikhian said.
Court documents indicate Leidhecker admitted to his relationship with the teen when he was interviewed by state police in October 2013. By pleading no contest, he did not have to admit guilt.
Leidhecker resigned from Northern York School District two days after his police interview, a district spokeswoman has said.
He declined comment as he left the courtroom. The girl's parents were in court to support him, Robinson confirmed.
Two-year delay: Robinson said Leidhecker's arrest shocked the former band director and his girlfriend because it came two years after the investigation — and two years after the York County District Attorney's Office instructed state police not to file charges, according to prior police testimony in the case.
The DA's office instructed Trooper Jeffrey Gotwals, lead investigator in the case, to file charges in September, Gotwals testified at Leidhecker's preliminary hearing last fall.
Kyle King, spokesman for the DA's office, has said the office was asked to do another review of the case, after which prosecutors approved of charges being filed.
— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.