[UPDATED with SAUSD Responses:] Joseph Manuel Orduna, Former Pro Football Player-Turned-High School Teacher, Allegedly Touched Girl Students Inappropriately

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UPDATE, FEB. 29, 10:31 A.M.: The Santa Ana Unified School District has posted on its website a response to the arrest of Joseph Manuel Orduna, who is now referred to as a "former teacher" in the headline, although the body copy mentions the Irvine 63-year-old was placed on administrative leave.

The district also sent a letter home to parents of students at Godinez Fundamental High School, where the former NFL player was a popular biology teacher and wrestling coach. Both messages follow after the jump . . .

SAUSD's Response to Former Teacher's Arrest

We are appalled by the former teacher's reprehensible alleged behavior. We acted swiftly upon learning about the allegations, placed him on administrative leave and reported the allegations to the appropriate authorities. We continue to cooperate fully with the Santa Ana Police Department, and we strongly encourage anybody with information that might aid in the investigation to come forward.



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ORIGINAL POST, FEB. 28, 12:54 P.M.: Another day, another high school teacher accused of inappropriately touching female students.

But Joseph Manuel Orduna, a biology teacher and wrestling coach at Godinez Fundamental High School in Santa Ana, is also a former NFL player and Nebraska Football Hall of Fame inductee.

Law enforcement is putting out the word is case there are other victims of the Irvine 63-year-old.

Based on the current charges, Orduna frequently talked about sex in his biology classes, crossing the line with discussion of his own sex life, according to the Orange County District Attorney's office (OCDA). Between April and June of last year, he allegedly made sexually suggestive comments and inappropriately hugged two 16-year-old girls.

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He kissed one of the students on the lips as they hugged in the school hallway near the entrance to his classroom, according to the OCDA, which further accuses Orduna of grabbing the butt of the second girl as they hugged tightly for a long time.

The first girl reported the contact to school officials, who in turn alerted the Santa Ana Police Department. The second girl was discovered during the investigation. Orduna is charged with two misdemeanor counts of child annoyance and faces a maximum sentence of two years in jail if he is convicted. He was held in lieu of $15,000 bail pending a yet-to-be scheduled arraignment.

Meanwhile, cops and prosecutors are seeking other possible victims, who are encouraged to contact Santa Ana Police Detective Ed Zaragoza at 714.245.8351 or Supervising District Attorney Investigator Carl Waddell at 714.834.7538.

Speaking of high school, Orduna excelled in football, wrestling and track at Omaha Central High before going on to the University of Nebraska, where he led the team in rushing in 1968 and 1970 and earned All-Big Eight honors in 1970. He went on to be drafted in the second round by the San Francisco 49ers and spent three years in the NFL for the New York Giants and Baltimore Colts. He was inducted into the Nebraska Football Hall of Fame in 1990.

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26 comments
rsmasucci
rsmasucci

This man is FAR from being a "perv" or a "Perp". This is a man, who could be an example of a fine Christian, who "walks the walk and talks the talk". By NO means did he commit the crimes he was accused of and went to trial on !!!!!

This is a fine example of public hysteria coupled with a very well known over filing policy by the OCDA's office. The way they explain it is "It's a matter of public policy to file anything/everything when it comes to alleged sex crimes cases. They let the jury hash it out."

By doing this OCDA seems to waste a lot of our tax dollars on cases put before them with little to no merit and/or paper thin evidence. This RUINS peoples lives when they are wrongly accused, have to defend themselves in court then lose their teaching credentials even AFTER being found NOT GUILTY.

Defending youself in court on charges such as these costs literally THOUSANDS of $$$$$$$.

I believe the OCDA has no bar or standard when filing these cases and should adopt a policy, gauge or barometer when these cases are presented to them for filing consideration.

Persephanie1844
Persephanie1844

I totaly agree with u mr. O always repected everyone and thoes girls should be ashame of them seleves for putting this poor man though so much embarsement ! He devoted his life to teching them about life and its a sad way for these girls 2 repay him this way...mr o was my coach for wrestiling and when I came to summer practices and he never showed which was wiered to us... and then when we got a new head coach it was even more weird!...the school had lied to us and told us he had retiered!I hope thoes girls get punished and they let this poor christain man live his life in peace

Morales George 93
Morales George 93

He is a biology teacher for Christ sake. It is normal to talk about sex in a biology classroom. I remember Mr. O and he was a very smart, respectful, serious man. Girls at godinez high school can be extreemely dramatic. There's always drama at godinez and I would not doubt that the little girl might have pulled something like this. I remember him when I was a freshman and sophomore how serious he was when we shook his hand to enter the class room. Always "good morning gentlemen" "good morning ladies". In the wrestling room he respected the girls in a way of tenderness how a man is supposed to be with "every" women. This is sad. Open your eyes people! Ask students about this.

Randall Post
Randall Post

I remember watching Joe Orduna give his Christian testimony on Paul Crouch's TBN station when he was still in the NFL with the NY Giants. That must have been 1973. If the accusations against him are true then it's quite a come down for him.

Fchdvgs
Fchdvgs

i knew it! i reported him back in 8th grade at Villa Intermediate to my vice principal Mr. Cole. One day afterschool he grabbed my butt. I reported him the next day and the only thing Mr cole said was "it could have been someone eles..." I told him it couldnt have been because when i turned around, he was the only one behind me. I never had him as a teacher but before that day I also thought he was like the coolest teachers at school. He was really nice and i knew that every one liked him. After that day, I would hide into random classes if i saw him coming just so i would not see him. I was even scared to walk by every single day as he would stand outside of his class saying hi to everyone but i had a class infront of his and during that period and i couldnt do anything about it. I had told Mr cole that i didnt want him to know it was me but to tell him that another person had seen this. he did not listen to me and he told Mr O that it was me who accused him. i still remember the fake grin on his face after that day everytime he saw me...  he deserves everything he gets. 

Steve Marquez Estrada
Steve Marquez Estrada

I graduated from Godinez on 2010, the first graduating class and even from back then I had seen Mr. Orduna hug female students during lunch, at one time i was walking with a female classmate and talking and he passed by and hugged her, i told her why she let him hug her and she told me that she didnt like the hugs. He went on his way and i noticed that he hugged various other female students. I told  her the hugs were innapropriate because hes a teacher and that was it. Im just saying that hes been known to hug female students since i was a senior there, it could have happened longer before that but its still innapropriate for a teacher to hug a student daily specially since it is a fundamental school and the teachers would pull couple students apart if they were hugging.

Villa and Godinez student
Villa and Godinez student

I had Mr. O in middle school at Villa he was a great teacher he was always helping student he never talk anything sexual at all. At Godinez I did not have him again but I still kept contact with him I would go to his classroom all the time and he never did anything inappropriate. Mr. O was a great teacher and a helpful person and those girls are just plain stupid. Mr. O gives a difficult class but just cause you dont get the grade you want or you dont understand his class does not mean you can go and tell lies about him. I hope that justice is done and he is set free because he deserves it. FREE MR. ORDUNA

DRo08
DRo08

I was very shocked when i read this. He was my middle school teacher at Villa Fundamental Intermediate School and not once did he ever come accross as a dishonarable man. He was actually a good teacher and was always there for help. He used to coach the pentathlon team at my middle school, he was caring and never showed bad intentions with any of us. Ugh, i hope this investigation really does serve justice.If he indeed misconducted and these girls were victims then justice will give him what he deserves. Its quite shocking when things like these hit home, but its reality.

909Jeff
909Jeff

Did anyone call the FC Blades to Verify? 

Godinez Student
Godinez Student

Mr. Orduna was a great teacher, he was a great example for many boys in Godinez and I had him for Biology Honors. He always wanted the best for his students. I miss passing by his class and watching him smile with his speaker. He would make the class interesting and I will learn alot in his class. He never made us write about our intimate life and he would tell us how much he loved his wife. He was a very funny and friendly man. Many teachers were surprised because that is all he was, caring. He brought school spirit to our school and led on a great wrestling team. If I am not wrong, every year our wrestling team would go make it to CIF thanks to how good of a coach he was. I speak for many when I say this went too far and the girls were just some dumb girls who did not think things through and spread lies about him. I am a girl and I never saw bad intentions in him. My brother was in his wrestling team and my family had met him before. We are all very surprised of all this and the news are making it seem like he was a bad guy. He was not a bad guy and those girls ruined his reputation. I see him the same and many are here knowing he was a great person and teacher.

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Me
Me

This was my 8th grade biology teacher when I was in Villa fundamental, I'm now 22 so it was a while ago. This is very sad and creepy. Mr. O was a pretty cool teacher back in junior high. It's disgusting that he did this. I'm glad I'm not in perverted public school anymore, all of a sudden all these teachers are child molesters.

Art Pedroza
Art Pedroza

We don't know that.  Let the system work it out.  Obviously the OCDA and the SAPD felt there was something to it.  

The real story was the SAUSD's lame response.  http://wp.me/pCRHK-6pr.

For the record my 15 year old son goes to Godinez and my oldest son graduated from Godinez.

Matt
Matt

This is disgusting!!!  Teenagers trying to make a name for themselves at the expense of a man who dedicated his life to helping them.  Witch hunt is the exact term I thought of when I heard this. 

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JimB
JimB

Orange County / the OCDA must have had predator panic envy after all the spectacular cases in LAUSD but getting caught up, lol. Funny how they publicize a minor case like this under the guise of seeking input from the public.

The good thing is, with the current budget projections, amongst the many teachers laid off will be a good percentage of these 'monsters'. And the shortened school year will give them less opportunities.

Don
Don

Another witch hunt.

Iluvdorry
Iluvdorry

Yes, I also believe all this is a big lie. I remember Mr.Orduña very well, he was and strongly believe still is a very strict, professional, yet respectful person. I also had him back when he was at Villa and would never see him disrespecting anyone in any way shape or form. I really do hope justice happens and if it's not true please set him free and I do believe those girls should get some kind of punishment if it isn't true. This is not a joke or a game. MyPrayers go out for Mr.Orduña, his wife and kids. Believe this.

Lakerz_chick13
Lakerz_chick13

Im also 22 and he was also my 8th grade biology teacher. But I'm sorry he never did show any signs of being a perv.

Bill T.
Bill T.

I have worked with teen girls. They can be dead scary. Your implied attitude of waiting for the evidence is the correct one. Maybe is is the scumbag he's been accused of being. But maybe not ...

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