San Diego

Teacher Accused of Sex Crimes Against Boys Pleads Not Guilty

The Sheriff's department said the allegations have nothing to do with the teacher's employment with the Escondido Union High School District

Few new details were revealed Friday at the arraignment for an Orange Glen High School teacher accused of committing sex crimes against two young boys.

Travis Putnam, 32, was taken into custody Wednesday and charged with four felony counts of lewd and lascivious acts with a victim 14 or 15 years old.

The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department’s (SDSO) Child Abuse Unit was notified Tuesday of sexual abuse allegations made against Putnam.

Deputies could not provide a timeframe of the allegations, but prosecutors revealed in court the alleged incidents occured between 2014 and December 2018.

The prosecutor said the four counts represent two incidents with each victim, a 14-year-old and a 15-year-old.

If convicted on all four counts, Putnam could face 5 years behind bars and would have to register as a sex offender.

Putnam's defense attorney is a family friend who has known Putnam since they were 4 years old. His attorney told NBC 7 he hasn't been given documents from prosecutors that detail the allegations against his client.

The incidents have nothing to do with Putnam's employment at Orange Glen, the SDSO said.

When deputies identified Putnam as the suspect, detectives in unmarked vehicles went to his home to arrest him but got there just as he was leaving.

The detectives followed him and called deputies in marked patrol cars for assistance and eventually pulled Putnam over on the freeway and arrested him.

Putnam's mother told NBC 7 she didn't know all the facts of the allegations and said "No" when asked if he was married.

She was in court Friday supporting her son, and at her side was retired Air Force captain who is the director of San Diego Youth Leadership Conference, the youth group Putnam volunteers with.

The EUHSD confirmed Wednesday that Putnam was being investigated and that he was placed on administrative leave. 

Putnam was a social science teacher at the school, according to the district.

The school community reacted to news of the allegations Thursday with disbelief.

His bio page on the school's website, which is now deleted, said Putnam has volunteered with the High School Ministry Collide at Emmanuel Faith Community Church since 2014.

The church's senior pastor told NBC 7 that investigators told him the alleged incidents didn't happen at the church or at any church-related event.

"I'm worried because my son comes to school here," Roger Beltran said. "If he does it somewhere else, he'd probably do it here in school without nobody knowing about it."

The EUSHSD said none of the alleged victims were district students and said the alleged incidents didn’t happen on district property.

Orange Glen High School is located at 2200 Glenridge Road in Escondido.

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