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Teacher accused of raping student in school

by JULIE E. MARTIN jmartin@indianagazette.net on November 01, 2013 11:00 AM

SALTSBURG — Investigations continue following the arrest of a Saltsburg Middle/High School teacher accused of raping a student at the school.

Todd Deven McCullough, 28, of Kiskiminetas Township, Armstrong County, was arrested at Saltsburg Middle/High School on Thursday.

He was arraigned before District Judge Guy Haberl, who set a straight cash bail of $150,000. McCullough is held in the Indiana County Jail, in lieu of bail.

According to police, McCullough raped a then-16-year-old female student in the back room of a shop classroom in the spring of 2012.

In an incident in the work area of the shop classroom last April, McCullough repeatedly asked the victim to show him her breasts, according to a criminal complaint from the state police at Indiana.

When she refused, McCullough asked if she was scared. He then told her to come with him to the small back room, where, according to the report from Trooper Douglas Snyder, he then closed the door and exposed himself to the victim.

The class bell rang and the student fled the room.

The victim avoided McCullough’s shop classroom, but a week later, police reported, the industrial education teacher called the girl out of class, asking that she be sent to his room.

When she arrived, he apologized for exposing himself.

A few days later, McCullough asked the student to stay and help him clean paintbrushes. Once again, he asked her to come to the back room.

He then raped her, according to police.

Near the end of the school year, McCullough allegedly told the victim he hoped she would “be mature” about the incident and that “it’s not only my (expletive) on the line, it’s your (expletive), too.”

The accusations surfaced within the past week, police said.

After the rape, the student only told a friend about the incident, according to the criminal complaint. The friend encouraged the victim to come forward to school officials.

Inappropriate behavior and unwanted advances had preceded the incident for some time.

According to police, over the past few years, McCullough touched the victim’s hips, massaged her shoulders and commented on her appearance.

Once, McCullough told the victim that she was looking “hot” and then said his girlfriend was going away for the weekend.

Additional interviews will be conducted during the ongoing investigation, according to Trooper John Matchik, state police public information officer.

Police are “still looking at everything at this point,” he said.

“This could be the initial phase of a significant investigation, and we won’t rule out the possibility of additional charges or additional victims,” he said.

McCullough will have a preliminary hearing Nov. 13 in Blairsville District Court with Judge Jennifer Rega.

He faces six felonies: two counts of rape/forcible compulsion, one count of sexual assault, sexual contact with a student and two counts of aggravated indecent assault.

In addition, he faces seven misdemeanor counts: corruption of minors, indecent exposure, harassment, disorderly conduct, open lewdness and two counts of indecent assault.

McCullough was hired at Saltsburg in 2009. In 2012, he was approved for tenure.

A message on the Blairsville-Saltsburg School District homepage said the district intends to cooperate with law enforcement and had conducted an internal investigation.

“Every effort has been and will continue to be made to protect our students and staff from any conduct that would affect their health, safety, and welfare,” the statement said.

District officials said this morning that no comment other than what was posted on the site will be offered at this time.

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