Blairsville-Saltsburg teacher charged with rape of student
By Renatta Signorini
Published: Thursday, Oct. 31, 2013, 1:57 p.m.
A Saltsburg High School teacher is behind bars on accusations that he raped a 16-year-old female student in a private room of the school in the spring.
Todd Deven McCullough, 28, of Kiski Township in Armstrong County, had touched the girl inappropriately “over the past few years,” culminating with the assault in April 2012, according to a criminal complaint filed on Tuesday by state police in Indiana County.
District Judge Guy Haberl committed McCullough to the Indiana County Jail on Thursday on $150,000 straight cash bail.
“What if I can't make $150,000?” McCullough asked Haberl during his arraignment.
“Then you will sit in jail ... until Judge (Jennifer) Rega decides whether she's going to revisit the issue of bail,” Haberl replied.
According to an affidavit of probable cause, McCullough allegedly “physically touched the (16-year-old) victim's hips from behind with both hands, massaged the victim's shoulders and complimented her on her appearance.”
“On one occasion, the accused told the victim that she was looking ‘hot' and that his girlfriend was going to be away this weekend,” Trooper Douglas Snyder wrote in the complaint.
In April 2012, McCullough allegedly asked the girl repeatedly to show him her breasts while they were in the work area of a shop room. The girl refused and later was asked by McCullough to come with him into a “small, isolated back room.”
When a door closed, police said, McCullough exposed himself and had sex with the girl.
Trooper John Matchik said the investigation began about a week ago when another female student reported to the district unwanted attention from McCullough, an industrial technology teacher.
According to an announcement posted on Thursday on the Blairsville-Saltsburg School District website, administrators “conducted an internal investigation of a professional employee of the district and believe the employee has violated” district policy and state law.
“The district administration has worked closely with the Pennsylvania State Police in this matter,” the announcement states.
Neither the district superintendent nor the assistant superintendent could be contacted on Thursday afternoon.
McCullough was suspended by the district when the accusations came to light and was at the school on Thursday for an administrative meeting, Matchik said. State police arrested him at the school.
McCullough did not respond to reporters' questions after his arraignment. He did not have an attorney listed on online court records.
His teaching certification was issued in June 2009, and he was hired by the district that August. He was appointed sophomore class adviser in October 2010 and volunteer middle-high school football coach for the 2009-10 season. He was granted tenure status by the board in August 2012.
McCullough is charged with rape, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, sexual assault, institutional assault, corruption of minors, indecent exposure, harassment, disorderly conduct, open lewdness and two counts each of aggravated indecent assault and indecent assault.
A Nov. 13 preliminary hearing is scheduled before Rega.
Renatta Signorini is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-837-5374 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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