MURRIETA – Police called to investigate a burglary alarm on Tuesday night instead discovered a middle school teacher suspected of having sex with an underage girl nearby.
James Pinckard, 56, a math teacher at Day Middle School in nearby Temecula, was booked on suspicion of having unlawful sex with a minor, said reports. He was released Wednesday on $5,000 bail.
Police were dispatched to an office park at 41771 Corporate Center Court shortly at 8:54 p.m. on Tuesday to check out a burglar alarm that went off at a business location.
Sgt. Phil Gomez said officers spotted a van parked near the location and saw Pinckard getting out. Officers reported that Pinckard told them he was alone. Minutes later, they discovered a 17-year-old girl “hiding in the rear of the van.”
Officers said that Pinckard told them the girl was an 18-year-old niece. When officers questioned the girl about her identity, they discovered “she was a juvenile that had been involved in an ongoing sexual relationship for over one year.”
She was reported to be a former student of Pinckard at Day Middle School. She is currently a student at Temecula Chaparral High School, said Gomez.
Pinckard was taken to the Southwest Detention Center, booked on charges of multiple counts of unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor and oral copulation of a minor.
According to reports in the Riverside Press-Enterprise, Pinckard will be placed on paid administrative leave from his teaching position, according to school officials. If charges are filed, he will be placed on unpaid administrative leave.
Detectives John Nelson and Danny Martin are continuing the investigation, said police.