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San Diego County substitute teacher, Boy Scout leader arrested on child pornography charges

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Posted at 2:26 PM, Jul 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-29 02:22:04-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- A San Diego County substitute teacher was arrested on child pornography charges, according to San Diego Police.

The department arrested Andrew Jared Primes, 31, on July 27. San Diego Police say Primes has worked for both the Poway Unified School District and San Dieguito Union High School District.

Primes is also a leader at the Boy Scouts of America Fiesta Island Summer Camp.

“Because of the suspect’s proximity and involvement with children, detectives are looking for potential victims,” police say.

In a statement to ABC 10News, the San Dieguito Union High School District said:

"The San Dieguito Union High School District is aware of the legal issues involving a former employee of the District. This case is not related to the individual’s employment at SDUHSD, and we have been given no reason to believe from the arresting authorities at this time that any current or former students within SDUHSD are connected to, have been impacted by or are victims in any manner."

The San Diego - Imperial Council, Boy Scouts of America also responded following the arrest:

We are deeply saddened at this described behavior, which is reprehensible and runs counter to everything for which the Boy Scouts of America stands. We are grateful to the dedicated men and women in law enforcement whose actions helped protect children in our communities.

While this incident appears to be unrelated to Scouting, upon learning of these reports, we took immediate action to remove this individual from Scouting and prohibit him from any future participation in our programs.

Nothing is more important than the safety and protection of children in our Scouting programs – it is our top priority. The Boy Scouts of America has multilayered safeguards informed by experts, including the following, all of which act as barriers to abuse:

  • mandatory youth protection training for all volunteers and employees;
  • a leadership policy that requires at least two youth-protection trained adults be present with youth at all times during Scouting activities and bans one-on-one situations where adults would have any interaction alone with children – either in person, online, or via phone or text;
  • a thorough screening process for adult leaders and staff including criminal background checks;
  • a ban on the use of recording devices/cell phones near bathrooms and shower houses; and
  • the prompt mandatory reporting of any allegation or suspicion of abuse to law enforcement.

The BSA also offers a 24/7 Scouts First Helpline (1-844-SCOUTS1) and email contact address (scouts1st@scouting.org) for help reporting suspected abuse or inappropriate behavior.

We are communicating with our Scouting community to inform them of this individual’s arrest and to remind them of the resources we have in place to help members of our community have important conversations with Scouts about how to stay safe and what to do if they ever feel unsafe.

For more information about the BSA’s youth protection policies and our efforts to be part of the broader solution to child abuse, please visit: www.scouting.org/youth-safety [scouting.org].

Poway Unified School District issued a statement that read:

"We have been made aware of allegations against a former substitute teacher regarding possession of child pornography. Andrew Primes is not currently employed by the Poway Unified School District. He previously served as a substitute teacher during the 2020-21 school year.

As a District, we take situations like this very seriously and will be cooperating fully with authorities in their investigation. We have notified the families of his former students, and are encouraging anyone with any concerns to contact law enforcement immediately. All employees of PUSD undergo extensive background checks before they are hired. PUSD strives to provide a positive school environment that protects the safety and well-being of our students and, as such, continues to require that all employees complete sexual harassment and mandated reporter trainings. We expect ­all adults with whom students may interact at school, or in school-related activities, to maintain the highest professional and ethical standards both within and outside the educational setting."

According to police, the investigation was initiated in response to a report indicating Primes transmitted images of child pornography. Detectives with the San Diego Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force later found that Primes was responsible for “possessing and transmitting several thousand images containing child abuse sexual imagery.”

Primes has been booked into the Vista Detention Facility.

Anyone who suspects that Primes may have victimized other children on phone apps, social media, or email is asked to contact investigator Ron Burleson at rburleson@sdicac.org.