A pianist is facing federal charges in Los Angeles for allegedly trying to start a sexual relationship with an 11-year-old girl.
Joseph Lee Hedderich, 35, of Culver City, is charged with using a computer to attempt to induce a minor to engage in criminal sexual activity, according to a federal grand jury indictment unsealed last week.
The charge carries a potential sentence of at least 10 years in federal prison, Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Dore said. An arraignment date has not yet been set.
Hedderich - who 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 - allegedly sent "inappropriate photographs and email messages" to the girl on a digital device he had provided her, according to Los Angeles police.
The girl's parents discovered the material and contacted the Los Angeles Police Department, authorities said.
Posing as the girl, detectives from the LAPD's Sexually Exploited Child Unit set up a meeting with Hedderich in Pacific Palisades, and he was arrested last September 1 when he showed up allegedly expecting to meet her.
Hedderich 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 anounced today it was dropping charges against Hedderich, clearing the way for federal prosecutors to handle the case.