[UPDATED: Victim's Mother Speaks] Ricardo Aldana, JSerra High School Teacher and Volleyball Coach, Arrested on Charges of Molesting Student
The mother (whom the Weekly isn't identifying) says that in early September, she contacted JSerra president/CEO Frank Talarico about suspicions she had regarding Aldana's undue interest in her daughter. After weeks of playing phone tag, the mother finally talked to Talarico.
"You either have a teacher who's crossing boundaries," the mother says she told JSerra's principal, "or you have a predator."
"I strongly suspected something," the mother told the Weekly. "[Aldana] was calling my daughter constantly, and she was going around saying she has an older boyfriend."
Talarico told the mother the school would investigate, saying he was a "good teacher." Aldana, predictably, denied everything, and the school noted he had no prior charges ever brought against him, despite rumors circulating at his previous employer. Talarico then asked if school officials could tape an interview with the girl on their own, away from her mother, which the family refused.
About a month later, JSerra officials sent the mother a letter stating the case was closed. When sheriff's deputies arrested Aldana this week, she felt "beyond disgusted" that her suspicions were proven correct--and that school officials didn't pry deep enough into Aldana's past.
"My child is very brave and honorable to speak out against something that's wrong," the mother stated. "What's happened is wrong, and I don't want it to happen to another child."
According to her, JSerra officials have yet to contact the family since Aldana's arrest. Her daughter will not be returning to the school.
"I trusted that place," she concluded, her voice distant.
UPDATE, DEC. 15, 2:40 p.m.: A JSerra spokesperson sent me this statement:
We are outraged and sickened by these disturbing allegations, and are cooperating fully with the Orange County Sheriff's Department.
We strongly encourage anybody in the JSerra community with information that might aid the investigation to contact the Sheriff's Department immediately.
After learning about the facts surrounding the arrest this morning, we immediately terminated Mr. Aldana.
JSerra does not tolerate inappropriate conduct between faculty/staff and minors, and we will continue to forcefully enforce our policy.
Here's Aldana booking photo. Not so happy now!
ORIGINAL POST, DEC. 15, 12:09 P.M. We just got word that a teacher at JSerra High School, a private Catholic school in San Juan Capistrano, was arrested this week, accused of molesting a 14-year-old student.
Ricardo Aldana, a Spanish teacher and coach of the girl's JV volleyball team (picture at right) who has taught at JSerra since 2005, according to the school's website, was arrested last night, according to sources who spoke with the Weekly under condition of anonymity. He's also affiliated with Tstreet Volleyball, a San Clemente-based private girls club.
"Ricardo has been a coach at Tstreet since 2008," says the Tstreet website. "Every season Coach Aldana takes a young, inexperienced group of girls and molds them into a hard fighting team that is committed to the 'Tstreet System.'...Over the years, many Tstreet girls have been fortunate to have Ric in their corner as a coach and mentor."
Now those words just read CREEPY. More details to come as they become available...in the meanwhile, heckuva job, Brownie!