A 21-year-old Grossmont Union High School District substitute custodian who allegedly texted a 14-year-old girl and pressured her to meet him for sex pleaded not guilty Friday to four charges, including appearing at an arranged meeting place for the purpose of committing a lewd act with a minor.
Elias Morales II allegedly sent inappropriate text messages to the El Capitan High School student and encouraged her to ditch class and meet him off campus, sheriff’s Lt. Jeff Duckworth said.
School officials said they notified the sheriff’s department after learning of the allegations against Morales.
Detectives took over a text session posing as the student, agreeing to meet Morales at a 7-Eleven convenience store on Maine Avenue for a sexual liaison, Duckworth said.
Morales was arrested at the store Feb. 19 and later posted $50,000 bail and was ordered to return to court Friday.
He is also charged with contacting a minor with the intent to commit a felony and attempting to possess child pornography.
Morales was fingerprinted and underwent U.S. Department of Justice and FBI background checks before being hired about three months ago, according to a statement issued by the school district, which says his employment was terminated on Thursday.
“The Grossmont Union High School District takes allegations of misconduct seriously and has taken appropriate steps to support and protect our students and our school community,” the statement said.
Morales will be back in court March 19 for a readiness conference and April 16 for a preliminary hearing.
He faces up to four years and eight months in prison if convicted, Deputy District Attorney Elizabeth Renner said.
— City News Service
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