A retired teacher at Point Loma and University City high schools was sentenced Dec. 6 to seven years in federal prison after he pleaded guilty to obtaining child pornography on his home computer.
James Rick Mitchell, 67, was allowed to remain free on bond until he surrenders by Feb. 7 in the courtroom of U.S. District Court Judge Janis Sammartino.
Mitchell worked for the San Diego Unified School District for 34 years from 1969 until his retirement in 2003. He worked as a math teacher and track coach at Point Loma High School and University City High School, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
His most recent work included 24 years at University City High. He also worked at Einstein Junior High School as a physical-education teacher.
There are no allegations of molestation. The case was investigated by the U.S. Postal Service and he was identified as purchasing videos and images of minors engaging in sexual activity. The U.S. Attorney’s Office said Mitchell was in possession of 4,751 videos of child porn and many more images.
Sammartino told Mitchell he had cast a “pallor” on his career as an educator. She said child pornography does cause “acute harm” to children depicted in the images.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office calculated that Mitchell paid about $4,300 to purchase the images and videos.
— Neal Putnam
Kiwanis Club ramps up for holiday food drive
Residents wanting to help the Ocean Beach/Point Loma Holiday Food Drive, but who can’t take their donation to a drop-off site can call on the Kiwanis Club of Ocean Beach, which is offering to pick up donations from donor’s homes and deliver them to the collection center.
The food drive is run by the Ocean Beach Town Council, in cooperation with local social-service agencies.
Anyone needing a pickup should call (619) 225-8705 and give their address. They can call any time between today and 11 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 14. Pickups will be made that afternoon.
Donations requested are unopened, nonperishable food items; new or nearly-new toys; and unopened general household supplies.
They will be used to make up gift boxes for needy families and seniors in Ocean Beach and Point Loma.