A former Cassville High School teacher has been charged with sexual exploitation of a child after blackmailing a 14-year-old victim in New Jersey into sending him explicit pictures and videos.
Authorities say 31-year-old Brandon McCullough, of Branson, was posing as a 15-year-old boy on Kik messenger app.
When the girl asked him to leave her alone, he threatened to send the pictures and videos to her family.
Police reports say he then became more aggressive, demanding additional images and videos.
The victim repeatedly pleaded for him to stop and stated she didn’t want to do it and McCullough threatened to “post everything.”
She told McCullough she was considering killing herself and had taken a bottle of her mother’s pills.
The investigation shows that the victim then engaged in conversation with another Kik user, who was also McCullough.
This time, he was portraying himself as a 17-year-old boy.
In that conversation, the victim said she was being blackmailed and McCullough told her to continue meeting her demands.
The federal investigation began on February 14, 2020 after a New Jersey police detective contacted federal agents in Missouri.
Law enforcement seized McCullough’s hardrive, which contained dozens of folders containing Kik chats as well as images and videos of child pornography that were self-produced by the child victims.
When authorities questioned McCullough, he said he “couldn’t recall” how many minors he had chats with because he engages in this behavior so frequently.
McCullough had just accepted a position to teach at Hollister this coming year.