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Creep Catcher gets 45-year-old meeting 14-year-old boy at Ramona's Stater Brothers

Former Lincoln High School principal taught math at La Jolla High

"When I put this online do you think it's going to go well for you?"
"When I put this online do you think it's going to go well for you?"

On a sunny day in September 2020, a 45-year-old public school teacher drove to the Stater Bros. grocery store on Main Street in Ramona to meet someone he thought was a 14-year-old boy he had been chatting with online.

But instead, he met "Ghost," a predator catcher who spent nearly an hour following him and giving him hell for what he tried to do. Ghost posted a video of the encounter to his CC (Creep Catchers) Unit channel on YouTube. This was his 152nd catch.

After a year and after thousands of views and hundreds of comments, the predator remained unnamed and unknown. Then a couple former students came across the video and identified the man as Mr. Soto, a math teacher they had at La Jolla High School.

On November 9, 2021, Ghost posted a screenshot of one of those comments to the @cc.unit Instagram page, and comments from former students and co-workers poured in, confirming catch #152 was former Lincoln High School principal and former La Jolla High School math teacher Jose Elias Soto, aka Jose Sotoramos, now 47 years old.

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A former co-worker commented, "I knew it was Soto as soon as I heard him speak and saw the M&Ms tattoo on his arm...we worked together as vice principals at Lincoln." Ghost had the license plate number from the Jeep the man drove away in. It was registered to Jose E. Soto.

Inside Stater Bros. on that September day in 2020, Ghost started video recording Soto and said, "So Eli, I want to have a conversation about why you're doing this." Soto tried to evade his questions.

Later in the video Ghost asked, "When I put this online do you think it's going to go well for you?"

Soto replied, "No, it's not."

"Why won't it go well?"

"Because I'm talking to a 14 year old. It doesn't look right," Soto admitted.

"You asked the boy if he was single and then you said, 'I hope you're not mad. I have a girlfriend....' Do you want me to tell those cops over there about this?"

"I don't want you to tell them," Soto said.

At another point Ghost asked, "Why did you ask him if he was single? ...Why would you ask a 14-year-old boy if he was gay, bi or straight?"

"I don't know, I just wanted to know," Soto replied.

"Am I making things up?" Ghost asked.

"You're not making it up," Soto admitted.

Soto apparently realized his teaching career in California was in jeopardy and on December 12, 2020, he got new teacher and principal credentials in Texas. Soto had Texas credentials from 2008-2013 and worked as an assistant principal at Progreso High School, in the Rio Grande Valley's Hidalgo County. A representative of the Progreso Independent School District says Soto has not been reemployed there recently.

Though nobody commented on the video to identify Soto until recently, a disciplinary action was taken against Soto last school year. His California teacher and administrator credentials, originally issued in the fall of 2012, were revoked on May 23, 2021, "because of misconduct." A San Diego Unified School District spokesperson did not answer whether the video had anything to do with that.

Leena Bakshi, founder of STEM4Real, commented multiple times over the past few months on LinkedIn about Soto's role on her staff as program director. I asked her for comment on November 17. The next day, Soto's LinkedIn profile disappeared, and she replied, "On November 12, 2021, we were informed that Jose Sotoramos' credentials were revoked on May 23, 2021, due to misconduct in association to failed duties of mandated reporting. As of November 12, 2021, Jose Sotoramos has been terminated as Director of Programs with STEM4Real."

Soto first made the news in 2017. Multiple San Diego news outlets reported a group of students staged a walkout at Lincoln High School and chanted, "We want Soto! We want Soto!" They demanded the promotion of Vice Principal Soto to principal. The district appeased. One Lincoln parent told me the student support for Soto was not what it seemed, and the demonstration was orchestrated by adult allies of Soto at the school.

In December 2018 I reported a Lincoln parent's words that Principal Soto lets people do whatever they want, except speak out about problems, that he allowed a gang of bullies to rampage across campus, and in regard to instances of abuse, Soto ignored them and "brushed it off like it was nothing."

In a speech to staff in April 2018 Soto downplayed a sexual assault a male student perpetrated against a non-verbal disabled male student and portrayed the victim as a mutual participant in what happened. He spoke to his staff about how he defended some of them even though they were not committed and not willing to work, and he expected them to return the favor and not go to the media behind his back. And he threatened his staff. “I can definitely throw people under the bus, because I am privy to a lot of information.”

I reported on Soto again in August 2019. A Lincoln student said her teacher was trying to pimp her out. Under Soto's watch, the teacher's friends would drive their cars on campus and chat with students near their cars or in the teacher's classroom.

The student said when she told Soto what her teacher was doing to her, Soto neglected to call the police, and "he changed the subject. He started talking about irrelevant things like how we are Latinos, and we need to move on. Then he sent me back to class."

On November 18 CC Unit caught their 234th predator and they celebrated his arrest by the Gardena Police Department. A month ago, Ghost posted his disappointment with the lack of prosecution in San Diego. "The DA’s bio says that she helped fight against human trafficking and other related crimes. However, they don’t prosecute any of my catches. Every single catch I’ve done is an easy arrest and conviction handed to them on a silver platter, but they refuse because I don’t have 'police training.' However neighboring counties like Orange County and Los Angeles County have arrested my catches."

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"When I put this online do you think it's going to go well for you?"
"When I put this online do you think it's going to go well for you?"

On a sunny day in September 2020, a 45-year-old public school teacher drove to the Stater Bros. grocery store on Main Street in Ramona to meet someone he thought was a 14-year-old boy he had been chatting with online.

But instead, he met "Ghost," a predator catcher who spent nearly an hour following him and giving him hell for what he tried to do. Ghost posted a video of the encounter to his CC (Creep Catchers) Unit channel on YouTube. This was his 152nd catch.

After a year and after thousands of views and hundreds of comments, the predator remained unnamed and unknown. Then a couple former students came across the video and identified the man as Mr. Soto, a math teacher they had at La Jolla High School.

On November 9, 2021, Ghost posted a screenshot of one of those comments to the @cc.unit Instagram page, and comments from former students and co-workers poured in, confirming catch #152 was former Lincoln High School principal and former La Jolla High School math teacher Jose Elias Soto, aka Jose Sotoramos, now 47 years old.

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A former co-worker commented, "I knew it was Soto as soon as I heard him speak and saw the M&Ms tattoo on his arm...we worked together as vice principals at Lincoln." Ghost had the license plate number from the Jeep the man drove away in. It was registered to Jose E. Soto.

Inside Stater Bros. on that September day in 2020, Ghost started video recording Soto and said, "So Eli, I want to have a conversation about why you're doing this." Soto tried to evade his questions.

Later in the video Ghost asked, "When I put this online do you think it's going to go well for you?"

Soto replied, "No, it's not."

"Why won't it go well?"

"Because I'm talking to a 14 year old. It doesn't look right," Soto admitted.

"You asked the boy if he was single and then you said, 'I hope you're not mad. I have a girlfriend....' Do you want me to tell those cops over there about this?"

"I don't want you to tell them," Soto said.

At another point Ghost asked, "Why did you ask him if he was single? ...Why would you ask a 14-year-old boy if he was gay, bi or straight?"

"I don't know, I just wanted to know," Soto replied.

"Am I making things up?" Ghost asked.

"You're not making it up," Soto admitted.

Soto apparently realized his teaching career in California was in jeopardy and on December 12, 2020, he got new teacher and principal credentials in Texas. Soto had Texas credentials from 2008-2013 and worked as an assistant principal at Progreso High School, in the Rio Grande Valley's Hidalgo County. A representative of the Progreso Independent School District says Soto has not been reemployed there recently.

Though nobody commented on the video to identify Soto until recently, a disciplinary action was taken against Soto last school year. His California teacher and administrator credentials, originally issued in the fall of 2012, were revoked on May 23, 2021, "because of misconduct." A San Diego Unified School District spokesperson did not answer whether the video had anything to do with that.

Leena Bakshi, founder of STEM4Real, commented multiple times over the past few months on LinkedIn about Soto's role on her staff as program director. I asked her for comment on November 17. The next day, Soto's LinkedIn profile disappeared, and she replied, "On November 12, 2021, we were informed that Jose Sotoramos' credentials were revoked on May 23, 2021, due to misconduct in association to failed duties of mandated reporting. As of November 12, 2021, Jose Sotoramos has been terminated as Director of Programs with STEM4Real."

Soto first made the news in 2017. Multiple San Diego news outlets reported a group of students staged a walkout at Lincoln High School and chanted, "We want Soto! We want Soto!" They demanded the promotion of Vice Principal Soto to principal. The district appeased. One Lincoln parent told me the student support for Soto was not what it seemed, and the demonstration was orchestrated by adult allies of Soto at the school.

In December 2018 I reported a Lincoln parent's words that Principal Soto lets people do whatever they want, except speak out about problems, that he allowed a gang of bullies to rampage across campus, and in regard to instances of abuse, Soto ignored them and "brushed it off like it was nothing."

In a speech to staff in April 2018 Soto downplayed a sexual assault a male student perpetrated against a non-verbal disabled male student and portrayed the victim as a mutual participant in what happened. He spoke to his staff about how he defended some of them even though they were not committed and not willing to work, and he expected them to return the favor and not go to the media behind his back. And he threatened his staff. “I can definitely throw people under the bus, because I am privy to a lot of information.”

I reported on Soto again in August 2019. A Lincoln student said her teacher was trying to pimp her out. Under Soto's watch, the teacher's friends would drive their cars on campus and chat with students near their cars or in the teacher's classroom.

The student said when she told Soto what her teacher was doing to her, Soto neglected to call the police, and "he changed the subject. He started talking about irrelevant things like how we are Latinos, and we need to move on. Then he sent me back to class."

On November 18 CC Unit caught their 234th predator and they celebrated his arrest by the Gardena Police Department. A month ago, Ghost posted his disappointment with the lack of prosecution in San Diego. "The DA’s bio says that she helped fight against human trafficking and other related crimes. However, they don’t prosecute any of my catches. Every single catch I’ve done is an easy arrest and conviction handed to them on a silver platter, but they refuse because I don’t have 'police training.' However neighboring counties like Orange County and Los Angeles County have arrested my catches."

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