San Diego County Superior Court
The new San Diego County Superior Court in downtown San Diego. Photo by Chris Stone

A San Diego firefighter who allegedly raped a 17- year-old girl was ordered Friday to stand trial on four felony sexual assault counts.

Justin Curtis Price, 35,  a fire engineer-paramedic who has been with the city public-safety agency for 10 years, was arrested in late April for the alleged Nov. 1, 2018, sexual encounter.

Prosecutors allege Price had known the teen since she was about 9 or 10 years old. She turned 17 about two weeks prior to the incident.

Price allegedly admitted to the rape in text messages with the girl’s mother, according to preliminary hearing testimony.

San Diego Police Detective Jeremy Margolis testified that he interviewed the victim, who said Price told her not to tell anyone about what happened, and that it would be “our little secret.”

Price is custody on $100,000 bail and faces five years in state prison if convicted of one count each of unlawful sex with a minor and sexual penetration with a foreign object, and two counts of oral copulation with a minor, according to Deputy District Attorney Jessica Coto. He’s due back in court Oct. 23 for a Superior Court arraignment.

Price was initially placed on unpaid leave from the fire department pending an internal investigation, but San Diego Fire-Rescue Department spokeswoman Monica Munoz said Friday that Price was no longer employed by the city.

The suspect is the nephew of Mark Raymond Price, an ex-Coronado firefighter sentenced in Hawaii last month to 10 years in prison for molesting a girl who considered him a grandfather figure, NBC7 reported. The 56-year-old former La Mesa resident faces similar charges in San Diego County involving the girl, according to the news station.

Hawaii News Now reported that the elder Price visited the island with family in May 2018 and sexually assaulted a 10-year-old child, citing Kauai police.

— City News Service