Riverside County prosecutors filed felony charges Monday against a former teacher accused of sexually assaulting two students, one of whom made her accusations public in a video posted on YouTube.
A $5-million warrant has been issued for the arrest of 40-year-old Andrea Michelle Cardosa, the Riverside County district attorney’s office said. Cardosa has been charged with 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.
[Updated, 6:58 p.m. PST, Monday, Feb 3, 2014: Prosecutors said Cardosa was arrested about 5:45 p.m. Monday by Riverside County deputies in Perris. She is expected to be arraigned Thursday.]
The case against Cardosa “came to light” after the first victim learned she was a vice principal at Alhambra High School, 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.
In the nine-minute recording, Carillo is shown dialing a number using speaker-phone mode. A woman answers, telling her she has reached Alhambra High School. Carillo asks for “Andrea Cardosa,” and is redirected twice. Then a woman answers and agrees that she is Cardosa.
“You brainwashed me and you manipulated me.... What you did was wrong,” Carillo says in the video.
“It wasn’t anything I intended,” the woman says quietly. “I don’t even know what happened.”
“You ruined my life. You ruined my childhood. Do you realize that?” Carillo responds, her voice raised. “You sicken me. You sicken me. And every day when I think about what you did, you sicken me.”
“I regret it every day,” the woman says. “Every day.”
Cardosa resigned from her post at Alhambra High School a few hours after the video went live and someone forwarded it to school administrators. District officials said they notified Alhambra police immediately.
Within days, the second alleged victim came forward, prosecutors said.
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.
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.
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.