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Former substitute teacher charged with statutory rape of 14-year-old in St. Louis County

Police said Brandon Holbrook was a substitute teacher at Bernard Middle School when he first encountered the victim.

ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. — A former substitute teacher is facing sex crime charges involving a 14-year-old student, and police are concerned there could be more victims.

The St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney's Office issued warrants Saturday against Brandon Holbrook, 30, of St. Louis on three counts of second-degree statutory rape and six counts of second-degree statutory sodomy. 

The St. Louis County Police Department said he was a substitute teacher at Bernard Middle School when he first encountered the victim.

According to a probable cause statement, police believe Holbrook began grooming the 14-year-old victim through social media around May of 2022, exchanging messages and images. He went to the victim's home and engaged in sexual acts on at least three separate occasions, police said.

Mehlville School District Superintendent Chris Gaines said in a statement to district families that the district became aware of the abuse on Monday when a friend of the victim brought concerns to a school district counselor. District administrators immediately filed a report with the Missouri Division of Children's Services and contacted police, and Holbrook was made inactive on the district's substitute roster that same day.

"We are deeply troubled by any report alleging that an employee may have engaged in inappropriate behavior," Gaines said. "Our schools are places where students should always feel safe, and we take any allegation of staff misconduct very seriously."

Credit: St. Louis County PD

Holbrook worked in Mehlville School District middle and high schools, Forder Elementary School and in the At Home virtual program between February 2021 and May 2022, the school district said. He has not worked in Mehlville schools during the 2022-2023 school year. 

He went through an extensive background check before being hired, the district said.

"The defendant poses a danger to the victim because the defendant made veiled threats to the victim if the victim disclosed this information and is aware of where the victim resides," the probable cause statement said.

Holbrook is being held on $500,000 cash-only bond with no 10% allowed.

The St. Louis County Police Department said Holbrook was a substitute for unknown area school districts, and as such detectives believe there could be more victims. Anyone with information is asked to contact St. Louis County Crimes Against Persons detectives at 314-615-5400.

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