Ex-O.C. teacher allegedly went to Philippines to have sex with minor

A booking photo of Robert Ruben Ornelas, 63, from his arrest in Orange County in 2013.

A former Santa Ana teacher already facing lewd acts with a minor charges in Orange County has been charged with traveling to the Philippines to have sex with an underage girl and documenting it on video.

Robert Ruben Ornelas, 63, of Santa Ana, was taken into federal custody Friday after federal prosecutors accused the former teacher and girl’s softball coach of engaging in sexual conduct in a foreign place, producing child pornography and possessing child pornography. He had previously been charged with lewd acts on a child in Orange County.

Ornelas, according to federal prosecutors traveled in March 2012 to the Philippines, where he engaged in sexual conduct with a girl who was approximately 14. According to the affidavit in the case, Ornelas shot video of his encounter with the girl and returned to the U.S. with images.

Ornelas had already been charged with lewd acts with another minor--a relative. Authorities believe there may be other victims.


In the most recent case, federal prosecutors charged the former teacher based on information and images found on his computer and digital media seized by investigators when they executed a search warrant at his home.

A forensic analysis of the computers and media led to the recovery of communications between Ornelas and several underage girls in the Philippines dating back to 2007, according to court records. Investigators found numerous sexually explicit photos and videos of underage girls.

Ornelas has been transferred to the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service. At his initial court appearance Friday afternoon in federal court, Ornelas was ordered held without bond and to appear at an arraignment ov. 10. The three charges in the criminal complaint carry a maximum sentence of 80 years in federal prison.

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