Feds: Cassville teacher had explicit online chats with minors, collected videos, photos
幸运飞艇跟人工计划Federal authorities indicted a Branson man Thursday in connection with online conversations with minors. During the course of the investigation, it was determined the man was a teacher at Cassville High School.
幸运飞艇跟人工计划Court records show the case started when the online messaging app Kik alerted authorities that they discovered possible child pornography being shared across its platform. About that time, investigators in New Jersey were working on a case in which they believed a victim there was communicating with a suspect in southwest Missouri.
幸运飞艇跟人工计划The detective reported a 14-year-old girl had been speaking with a person who said on the chat that he was 15.
Over the course of their conversations, court records say, the male user requested explicit photos and videos and threatened to share those items if the girl didn't continue to send more images and videos.
幸运飞艇跟人工计划The girl reportedly asked him to stop and to leave her alone, to which the male threatened again to share images with the girl's family and friends.
Records of the conversation show the girl said she felt trapped and considered killing herself, to which the man allegedly replied, "That's ur choice."
Authorities ultimately traced the IP address of the male user to a home in Branson where Brandon McCullough lived.
At the home, officials served a search warrant and discovered a hard drive with dozens of folders that appeared to contain photos and videos of child pornography shared over online messaging applications.
A detective spoke to McCullough, 31, and told him the girl in New Jersey had attempted suicide. At that point, documents say, McCullough replied, "It's me. I did it."
McCullough reportedly told the officer he began chatting online in 2014 and eventually began speaking to minors. McCullough said he was trying to stop but could not and said he couldn't recall how many minors he had spoken to "because he was engaging in the conduct so frequently."
McCullough told authorities he was a business teacher at Cassville. According to the school's website, McCullough was a business teacher at the high school.
Richard Asbill, superintendent at Cassville, said McCullough has been placed on leave and restricted from any access to school resources, per the district's policy.
He said they are working with law enforcement as the case progresses.
Asbill said it's not believed that any victims were Cassville students or that any district computer resources were used in relation to these charges.
McCullough was employed with the district since 2014. He worked at the high school the whole time, Asbill said. McCullough was also a co-sponsor of the school's Future Business Leaders of America program.
Asbill released a statement to the News-Leader that said, in part:
"If the allegations are substantiated, Cassville R-IV School District will take immediate steps to comply with Board policy and Missouri state law regarding such charges.
"Cassville R-IV School District takes student safety as a top priority and regrets that one of our employees has been accused of these allegations/charges. This District requires and provides annual training to all employees regarding student safety and student/adult interactions."
McCullough is charged with sexual exploitation of a minor, a crime that carries 15-30 years in prison.