SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — A former Springfield bus driver was sentenced to 17 years in prison for taking sexually explicit photos of a child and sharing the images in a chat group.

Gordon Wesley Roughton II, 42, pleaded guilty to the sexual exploitation of a minor. According to a press release from the Western District of Missouri Attorney’s Office, Roughton was employed as a seasonal bus driver for a children’s program for the Springfield-Greene County Park Board, as he had been every summer from 2014 to 2019.

Roughton also had been employed as a substitute teacher at schools in the Springfield area, and in the past had worked as a bus driver for Springfield Public School District and a Springfield Catholic school.

The investigation began in June 2021 when a detective with the Springfield Police Department received a CyberTip Report from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. MeWe, a social media and social networking service, had discovered images of child pornography uploaded by Roughton.

Roughton admitted during a search warrant that he participated in a chat group on MeWe where the group members traded child pornography. According to the release, Roughton explained that he had no images of child pornography to trade and needed some to remain in the chat.

Roughton took photos of the child victim to trade in the chat group and uploaded the images to MeWe.