Secretly videotaping young girls lands Dowagiac man in prisonPublished 12:16pm Friday, March 1, 2013
CASSOPOLIS — A Dowagiac man who secretly videotaped underage girls — including the daughter of his girlfriend at the time — in his home in July will spend the next five years in prison.
James Heidenreich, 57, was sentenced Friday in Cass County Circuit Court by Judge Michael Dodge to a minimum term of three years in the Michigan Department of Corrections for felony child sexually abusive activity and another two years for felony firearms.
Heidenreich secretly placed two cameras in his home — one in the bedroom where his girlfriend’s daughter was staying and another in the master bathroom.
One camera captured the nude image of a friend of his girlfriend’s daughter as she was preparing to take a shower the bathroom.
Heidenreich’s girlfriend discovered one of the recordings and contacted police.
During a jury trial, Heidenreich admitted to setting up the cameras, but said he did so only to capture evidence of illegal drug activity taking place in the home.
He stuck to his story during Friday’s sentencing hearing.
“The lies you told in court are disgusting, in my opinion,” Heidenreich said to the victims, who were present in court.
The daughter of Heidenreich’s girlfriend spoke during the sentencing hearing, telling Heidenreich she would never be able to trust again because of his actions.
“You messed me up really bad,” she said, visibly upset.
Assistant Prosecutor Kirk Metzger said Heidenreich continues to show a lack of accountability for his actions, even after a jury found him guilty of 10 felony charges Dec. 7.
“He will have an opportunity to reflect upon it while he serves his sentence,” Metzger said.
A marijuana grow operation and firearms were found on the property.
Heidenreich was charged with felony child sexually abusive activity, eavesdropping, possession of child sexually abusive material, manufacture of marijuana, maintaining a drug house and five counts of felony firearm. He was also found guilty of misdemeanor marijuana possession.
Felony child sexually abusive activity carries a penalty of up to 20 years in prison, but because Heidenreich had no prior record, his sentence guidelines for were 36 to 60 months.
Felony firearm carries a mandatory penalty of two years.