A former teaching volunteer at Pleasant Grove High School appeared in court Tuesday and pleaded not guilty to offering to pay several female students for nude photos.

Luis Mendez-Gamino, 23, is charged with 14 second-degree felonies of sexual exploitation of a minor and six class A misdemeanors of criminal solicitation.

His defense attorney asked for more time to continue working on the case, and Judge Robert Lunnen in American Fork’s 4th District Court filed the pleas and ordered another court hearing on Oct. 29.

According to charges, Mendez-Gamino reportedly had more than 100 images or videos of child pornography on his phone, including nude photos of at least five other girls who were 17 years old or younger.

On July 20, he reportedly used Instagram to ask a 17-year-old female student for inappropriate pictures. Police reported Mendez-Gamino offered to pay the teenager up to $400 for nude photographs, adding he would pay $20 to $25 for each photo she sent.

When the student refused, he reportedly asked the student to tell him if she knows anyone who would sell him nude photographs.

“He told the student he had previously paid other girls for similar photos, and asked her to keep the conversation secret,” charges state.

School district officials confirmed he was a volunteer percussion assistant who was volunteering with Pleasant Grove High School until April of this year.

Kimberly Bird, the spokesperson for Alpine School District, said Mendez-Gamino passed a background check in 2015 and the district did not have any additional records for him until it was alerted of his arrest report.

He is currently being held without bail at the Utah County Jail.

Ashley Stilson covers crime, courts and breaking news for the Daily Herald. She can be reached at 801-344-2556 or astilson@heraldextra.com.

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