The San Diego Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force has arrested a substitute school teacher on child pornography charges. Due to the suspect's proximity and involvement with children, detectives are looking for potential victims.
On July 27, Andrew Jared Primes, 31, was taken into custody for possession of child sexual abuse materials, commonly referred to as child pornography.
According to the ICAC, Primes has been employed by both the Poway Unified School District and San Dieguito Union High School District. He is also a leader at the Boys Scouts of America Fiesta Island Summer Camp.
The investigation was initiated in response to a report from the National Center of Missing and Exploited Children indicating Primes had "electronically transmitted several images containing possible child sexual abuse imagery."
"San Diego ICAC detectives investigated and determined Primes was responsible for possessing and transmitting several thousand images containing child abuse sexual imagery," detectives said.
Primes has been booked into the Vista Detention Facility.
In addition, detectives executed a search warrant and seized multiple devices that will be thoroughly analyzed for additional evidence related to child sexual abuse materials.
Aidan Taggart, a former student under Primes at Canyon Crest Academy, said Primes would often spend extra time with students to help them with their work.
"It makes me sad. He seemed like a really nice guy," Taggart said. "Loveable and kind of cared about students, and I guess he cared about us in a weird way."
The San Diego-Imperial Council, Boy Scouts of America said Primes has been removed from scouting and is prohibited from any future participation in Boy Scouts programs.
"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," the San Diego-Imperial Council, Boy Scouts of America said in a released statement.
SDPD investigators don't know if Primes used school district or Boy Scouts equipment to send child pornography, according to SDPD Lt. Carmelin Rivera.
"Early indication is we don't know that yet," Lt. Rivera said. "It's always concerning when someone is in possession of this kind of imagery and they have access to children."
Investigators are focused on Primes' time at Torrey Pines High School, Pacific Trails Middle School and Canyon Crest Academy in the San Dieguito Union High School District where he started teaching in 2016 and last substituted in April of 2020. They're also looking at Bernardo Heights Middle School in the Poway Unified School District where he worked as a substitute during the 2020-2021 school year.
Meanwhile, San Dieguito Union said the case isn't related to Primes employment there.
"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 district said in a statement.
Poway Unified said it has notified the families of Primes' former students.
"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," the district said.
Anyone who suspects Primes may have victimized other children via phone apps, social media, or email, contact SDICAC Investigator Ron Burleson at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the San Diego Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force at (858) 715-7100.
The BSA also offers a 24/7 Scouts First Helpline (1-844-SCOUTS1) and email contact address (email@example.com) for help reporting suspected abuse or inappropriate behavior.