Teacher Sentenced For Coercing Children Nationwide To Send Him Illicit Photos

By Jessica Marie Baumgartner | Published

Brandon McCullough

Brandon McCullough was a business teacher at Caseyville High School in southwestern Missouri. Then in February of 2020, a New Jersey mother contacted law enforcement officials regarding McCullough’s online conduct. He was then investigated for posing as a 15-year-old boy on the Kik app and thousands of child pornography videos and images were discovered. The 31-year-old offender pled guilty to multiple charges last August and now he has been sentenced to 30 years without parole. 

The reason for this harsh punishment comes down to the nature of the crimes. Brandon McCullough went online and posed as a teenager in order to gain explicit photographs and videos from minors. Then he threatened to expose his victims’ content publicly and reveal the sexual images to their friends and family if they didn’t agree to continue sending him further sexual content. 

This extortion scheme involved 11 students and began in the fall of 2018. Unfortunately, it is not the first time minors have been taken advantage of in this manner. Earlier this year, a 17-year-old male student was preyed on by a similar “sextortion” predator. The situation grew so threatening that he committed suicide. The FBI is warning parents and students of increased reports of these crimes and a need for proper online interactions. While Brandon McCullough was caught, convicted, and has now been sentenced, not all cases end as justly. 

This is a global threat affecting minors across various nations. Predators like Brandon McCullough prey on unsuspecting minors and gain power over them until they feel helpless. While this is a modern issue that has yet to be extensively reported on and studied, researchers at the University of Huddersfield Department of Psychology have noted that sextortion victims experience shame, humiliation, and fear which often lead to suicidal thoughts.

The Brandon McCullough case is yet another incident reminding parents that they need to not only monitor children’s online interactions but also educate them on the dangers that are waiting on the internet. Thousands of minors become the victims of sextortion schemes and every year more are reported. The damage this does to their mental well-being is long-lasting and even life-threatening. 

Due to this long-term trauma, Brandon McCullough will be placed under supervision for the rest of his life once he finishes his 30 years sentence. In addition, he has also been ordered to pay one of his victims $204,199 in restitution. The hope is that this sentence will protect minors and also serve as an example to others who seek to extort underage teenagers and children by gaining sexual images and videos. 

Brandon McCullough

Brandon McCullough’s sentencing wraps up just one of many thousands of similar cases. Preventing further damage is a key element of ensuring that the victims find justice, but educating others in order to prevent these forms of abuse altogether is a responsibility that remains with parents and other caretakers. Students who have experienced sextortion abuses are encouraged to contact their local FBI office, report it online, or call 1800-CALL-FBI. Teacher Sentenced For Coercing Children Nationwide To Send Him Illicit Photos