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Ricardo Aldana, a former JSerra Catholic High School teacher and coach, is accused of sexually molesting a 14-year-old student in 2011. Courtesy of the Orange County Sheriff’s Department

Ricardo Aldana faces seven years in state prison if convicted

By Brian Park

A former JSerra Catholic High School teacher will face a jury trial Wednesday, over three years since he was arrested on charges of sexually molesting a 14-year-old female student.

Ricardo Aldana, 40, is charged with seven felony counts of lewd acts on a child and faces a maximum sentence of seven years in state prison if convicted. Aldana pleaded not guilty to all charges on May 8.

The trial begins over two years since Aldana first appeared in court. His attorney, Michael Molfetta, had asked for several continuances. Senior Deputy District Attorney Jana Hoffman is prosecuting the case.

Aldana, who was a Spanish teacher and also coached boys soccer and junior varsity girls volleyball at the private school in San Juan Capistrano, is accused of meeting the victim when she was 13 years old. In June 2011, after the victim turned 14, prosecutors alleged Aldana inappropriately massaged her shoulder’s, over her clothing, while they were alone in his classroom. He is accused of continuing to “groom” the victim through text messages and phone conversations, according to the Orange County District Attorney’s Office.

In September 2011, Aldana is accused of picking the victim up from her home while her mother was out of town, taking her to his Dana Point residence and sneaking her into his bedroom to avoid his roommates. Prosecutors allege Aldana engaged in “substantial unlawful sex acts” before dropping her off at her home at 4 a.m.

The Orange County Sheriff’s Department began investigating the case after an instructor at an out-of-state academic camp overheard the victim talking to other students. Aldana was arrested in December 2011.

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