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Ex-teacher charged in YouTube sex abuse case cleared background checks

Crime, Law and JusticeSexual AssaultCrimeJustice System

Officials at three school districts that hired a former teacher now accused of sexually assaulting two female students -- one of whom made her accusations public in a YouTube video -- said that each time, she passed all necessary background checks.

Riverside County prosecutors filed felony charges Monday against 40-year-old Andrea Michelle Cardosa, who was arrested later in the day. Cardosa -- who resigned from her post as vice principal at Alhambra High School shortly after the YouTube video surfaced -- faces 16 counts related to aggravated sexual assault and lewd acts on a child under the age of 14, officials said.

Prosecutors said the charges relate to two female victims: one who was allegedly assaulted between 1997 and 2001 while she attended middle and high school in Riverside, and one who allegedly was abused in 2009 or 2010 as a high school student in Perris.

Superintendent Laura Tellez-Gagliano said Monday the Alhambra Unified School District had no immediate comment on the charges.

Before arriving at Alhambra, Cardosa worked for three other school districts, teaching, serving as vice principal and coaching girls' sports.

Each time she was hired, Cardosa passed all necessary background checks, according to officials at the Riverside Unified School District, Val Verde Unified School District and Coalinga-Huron Joint Unified School District.

The case against Cardosa "came to light" after the first victim learned she was a vice principal at Alhambra High, prosecutors said. The woman called Cardosa, secretly recorded the conversation, and posted it Jan. 17 on YouTube.

The video was viewed more than 1 million times within a week. It appears to have since been taken down.

Jamie Carillo, 28, said she posted the video on YouTube because she thought it was the only way to get justice. But because Carillo appears to have recorded the conversation without the other party's knowledge, it's unclear whether prosecutors can use the video as evidence. California law generally prohibits individuals from recording people without their knowledge.

Carillo's attorney, David Ring, said Riverside police and school officials interviewed Carrillo and Cardosa in 1999 but no charges were filed. Riverside police declined to comment on whether there was an investigation, and school officials said they were not aware of prior accusations against Cardosa.

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kate.mather@latimes.com

frank.shyong@latimes.com

 

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