A youth soccer referee was in jail Thursday, fired from his day job at the University of Florida after police accused him of transmitting child pornography online – including over UF’s computer network.
Joseph Andes, 58, of Newberry was facing 14 counts of possessing obscene material. His bond was $1.4 million.
Andes could not be reached for comment. The jail allows inmates to talk with reporters only with written permission from their defense lawyer and approval from a senior jail official. Andes was assigned a public defender, whose office generally declines to discuss their clients’ cases.
Authorities began investigating Andes in July 2022 after the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children received a tip from Microsoft that six sexually explicit images of children had been uploaded to Bing’s reverse image search. Police said the internet address traced back to Andes.
Four months later, the center received another tip from Microsoft about a reverse image search of a photo depicting a prepubescent girl engaging in sexual activity with an adult male. This time, the internet address traced a user at the University of Florida.
In response to a subpoena, the university traced the activity to Andes’ work account. He was logged into the university’s virtual private network, which allows users to access the campus computer resources from remote locations.
Gainesville police served a search warrant on April 11 at Andes’s home in Newberry. Andes told police he worked from home Thursdays and Fridays using the university’s virtual private network. Police said when they asked Andes whether he ever had sexual contact with children, he said, “No, as a matter of fact I am around kids a lot because I am a soccer referee.”
Police said they found pornographic images of children on Andes’s personal devices.
U.S. Soccer suspended Andes from his position in May, citing alleged misconduct.
UF spokesperson Cynthia Roldan wrote in an email that Andes — who began working for the university in 2007— was placed on administrative leave April 12 as a result of the investigation.
He was fired as soon as charges were filed on Nov. 9.
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