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Substitute teacher, Boy Scouts summer camp leader arrested on child porn charges

A substitute teacher, Primes has worked for both the Poway Unified School District and San Dieguito Union High School District.

SAN DIEGO — Andrew Jared Primes, 31, was arrested and booked into the Vista Detention Facility Tuesday on child pornography charges. 

Investigators with the San Diego Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force took Primes, a substitute teacher, into custody, said Sgt. Garrick Nugent, commander of the investigative agency.

Primes has worked for both the Poway Unified School District and San Dieguito Union High School District. He also served as a Boys Scouts of America Fiesta Island Summer Camp leader.

"Because of the suspect's proximity (to) and involvement with children, detectives are looking for potential victims," Nugent said.

In response to a report from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children "indicating that Primes had electronically transmitted several images containing possible child-sexual-abuse imagery," San Diego ICAC detectives investigated and determined that he allegedly "was responsible for possessing and transmitting several thousand images containing child-abuse sexual imagery," according to Nugent.

"Detectives executed a search warrant and seized multiple devices that will be thoroughly analyzed for additional evidence related to child-sexual-abuse materials," the sergeant said.

Schools that are part of the investigation into Primes include:

  • Bernardo Heights Middle School
  • Torrey Pines High School
  • Pacific Trails Middle School
  • Canyon Crest Academy

Anyone with information about possible outstanding victims in the case is asked to contact ICAC Investigator Ron Burleson at rburleson@sdicac.org.

The San Dieguito Union High School District issued the following statement on Wednesday:

"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 Poway Unified School District issued the following statement on Primes' arrest:

"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 (BP 4119.24) both within and outside the educational setting."

The San Diego-Imperial Council, Boy Scouts of America issued the following statement Wednesday afternoon: 

"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."