A former San Diego Fire-Rescue Department employee pleaded guilty on Tuesday to having sex with a minor whom he knew since she was a young child, according to the San Diego County District Attorney's Office.
Justin Curtis Price, an engineer/paramedic who was with the department for 10 years, appeared at the San Diego Central Courthouse on Tuesday for the first day of his trial. He pleaded guilty to felony unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor, the DA's office said.
Prosecutors last year said he had committed sex crimes against a 17-year-old girl. The defendant faced a slew of charges in the case, with one charge involving a victim who was at the time incapable, because of a mental disorder or developmental or physical disability, according to the criminal code on the booking information.
"As Fire Chief of the City of San Diego, I strongly condemn the alleged behavior and will not tolerate any actions that compromise the high standards required of all Fire Department employees," San Diego Fire-Rescue Chief Colin Stowell said in 2019 in a written statement.
Following his arrest, Price was placed on unpaid leave with the department.
The defendant was released on $100,000 bond after his not guilty plea last year. He was ordered to stay away from the victim and his own wife, who filed for divorce as a result of his arrest.
Price is scheduled to be sentenced on April 24. He faces five years in prison.