Volunteer Band Assistant Arrested For Soliciting Nude Photos From Teens
PLEASANT GROVE, Utah — A volunteer assistant with the Pleasant Grove High School band faces felony charges, in what police say was a pattern of soliciting nude photos from underage children.
Luis Mendez was said to be a talented musician and part of the band as a student. District officials say he cleared a background check in 2015 and became a volunteer assistant with the band. But police say it was his interaction with at least one girl at the school that led to his arrest. It was a message sent via Instagram to a 17 year old girl, offering to pay her $25 for each nude photo, that led to the arrest of Mendez, who identified himself to the girl as a “sugar daddy.”
“He told our victim that he had he had paid other minor children for nude photographs,” said Capt. Britt Smith, with the Pleasant Grove Police Department.
While this girl, who met Mendez during his time as a volunteer at the school did not send him photos, police believe at least five other underage girls did. They found at least one hundred illicit photos on his phone.
“We believe that the other girls did exchange photos with him whether he knew them personally in real life or whether he had just met them on social media or via the internet,” Smith added.
Police say there is no evidence Mendez had sexual contact with the victims.
Detectives credit the 17 year old girl who went to her parents, in helping to keep other children safe.
“We got a bad guy off the street and hopefully we got a bad guy off the street before he had a chance to sexually abuse other kids and we were only able to do that because we had a brave teenage girl that came forward reporting her father,” Smith said. Prosecutors filed formal charges against Mendez on Monday and he remains in the Utah County jail. He set to appear in court later this month.