SPRINGFIELD, Mo.– A local high school teacher was charged with sexual exploitation of a minor after allegedly blackmailing a 14-year-old to send him sexual photos and videos.
Brandon Lane McCullough, 31, of Branson, was charged after a criminal complaint was filed on May 7 in the U.S. District Court in Springfield.
McCullough formerly worked as a business teacher in Cassville and had recently accepted a position at Hollister High school for the upcoming year.
According to the criminal complaint, McCullough initially acted like a 15-year-old when he started messaging the victim.
According to a press release, McCullough became more aggressive, demanding more images and videos. He threatened to send all the videos and pictures to the victim’s family after the victim told him, “can you please (just) leave me alone now,” and “can you just stop” and “I don’t wanna do that.”
The victim told another user, who was McCullough posing as a 17-year-old under a different account, that she was being blackmailed. McCullough’s response to the victim was to keep meeting his demands.
On May 7, 2020, officers issued a search warrant at McCullough’s residence. Officers located an external hard drive that contained dozens of messages, images, and videos of child pornography of the victim.