A suburban Philadelphia chemistry teacher exchanged hundreds of messages with an underage student, including sexual photos and texts stating a desire for oral sex, said the Chester County District Attorney’s Office.
Prosecutors charged former Downingtown West High School teacher Brandon Mitchell with seven counts, including child pornography and child endangerment, after investigators uncovered more than 12,000 messages between the now-30-year-old and the teenage victim, authorities said. More than 300 of the messages were "inappropriate," according to an affidavit of probable cause obtained by NBC10.
The messages – sent on a non-school-issued cellphone and personal laptop – began in May 2013 when the boy was just 16 years old. The conversations turned sexual in the summer of 2013 and, according to the criminal complaint, included messages from Mitchell that read, "you can give me a bj after you graduate" and "Do you have naked pictures if yourself on your phone?"
Police said that Mitchell tried to cover his tracks by asking the boy to delete conversations.
"Ps you NEeD to delete theses texts tomorrow," Mitchell wrote in June 2013, said the criminal complaint.
The Downingtown School District suspended Mitchell in April 2015 when the investigation came to light. He later resigned his teaching post.
"This defendant used his position of trust and authority to engage in serious misconduct with a student," said DA chief of staff Charles Gaza.
Besides sexual messages, Mitchell and the boy also exchanged nude photographs, including more than a dozen of Mitchell's penis, according to investigators. The boy sent a sexually explicit video to Mitchell, who allegedly told the boy he wanted to see him masturbate, said police.
The conversations ended in December 2014, police said.
Mitchell posted bond after being arraigned last week and his attorney responded to the allegations Tuesday.
"Brandon and I have been aware of these allegations since April of last year," said West Chester-based attorney Peter Kratsa. "The charges exclusively involve alleged improper electronic communications with a student close to 18 years of age. There are no allegations of illicit physical contact with any student. We will continue to review the Commonwealth's allegations and resolve this matter accordingly."
Investigators worried there could be more victims and asked anyone with information to called Downingtown Det. Andy Trautmann at 610-269-0263.