Robert Ruben Ornelas, Former Santa Ana Teacher Accused of Molesting Girl Relative, Was Outed by Brother: Update

See Update No. 3 at the bottom of Page 2 on Ross Ornelas, the brother of the suspect, identifying himself as the one who turned Robert Ornelas in to authorities. Update No. 2 on page 2 has more details on the evidence and possible federal child porn charges coming. Update No. 1 on the next page details the current charges, possible punishment and revelation that the victim was a girl relative who was 5 when the molestations began.

Photos courtesy of Orange County Sheriff's Department
ORIGINAL POST, JUNE 13, 11:26 A.M.: Robert Ruben Ornelas' mugshot is beyond the Ugliest Police Mugshot of the Week. Indeed, it's The Police Mugshot Most Likely to Make Phil Spector Jealous. The former Santa Ana teacher, girls softball coach and day-care worker's alleged crime is ugly: molesting a girl, age 12 or younger, from 1990-95.

Informed that the 62-year-old may be in possession of child pornography, the Orange County Child Exploitation Task Force (OCCETF) launched an investigation in April, according to an Orange County Sheriff's Department statement.

Before serving a search warrant at Ornelas' home in unincorporated Santa Ana Tuesday, OCCETF members were informed the suspect made incriminating statements regarding the molestation of a girl in the early 1990s, deputies say.

The statement does not go into detail about the alleged molestation of a girl 12 or younger, but it does indicate a large amount of child porn was discovered in the home and that it showed there may be several other young victims from as far back as the early 1980s.

"Ornelas may have worked in or around an unlicensed day care center at a private residence that operated near his home on the 13000 block of Prospect in Santa Ana throughout the 1980s and possibly the early 1990s," the statement reads. "He also was a teacher with the Santa Ana [Unified] School District and a local girls' softball coach from approximately 1992 to 2003."

He is being held on $1 million bail, according to a separate statement from the FBI.

The task force included this second mugshot of Ornelas from 2001, which would have been in his later teaching/coaching days:

Due to the number of children Ornelas was close to over the years, authorities are reaching out for other possible victims. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Orange County Sheriff's Department at 714.647.7000 or the FBI's Orange County office at 714.939.8699. Anonymous tips can be left at OC Crimestoppers at 855.TIP.OCCS (855.847.6227) or by visiting

The OCCETF is a multi-agency team which includes the FBI, U.S Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Orange County Sheriff's Department, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the police departments of Newport Beach and Huntington Beach.

UPDATE NO. 1, JUNE 13, 12:09 P.M.: Robert Ornelas began molesting a female relative in the 1990s beginning when she was 5 years old, the Orange County District Attorney's office (OCDA) reveals in an arraignment statement.

He is scheduled to be arraigned in the Santa Ana Central Jail this afternoon on two felony counts of lewd acts on a child with sentencing enhancement allegations for substantial sexual conduct with a child. Conviction could bring a 10-year prison sentence.

Countering the earlier FBI statement, which indicated Ornelas' bail was $1 million, the OCDA claims he is being held in lieu of $100,000 bail.

"Between 1990 and 1996, Ornelas is accused of sexually assaulting a female relative beginning when she was 5 years old," reads the OCDA statement. "He is accused of molesting the victim while she was visiting his home including masturbation and oral copulation."

The victim was discovered during the OCCETF child pornography investigation, explain prosecutors, who add that probe "is ongoing."

The OCDA also adds to the list of contacts (detailed in the original post) that people can call if they have more information to help investigators. It's that of Supervising District Attorney Investigator Paul Carvo at 714.347.8794.

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My Voice Nation Help

It's like no matter where you go in the room, his eyes molest you


He was my teacher... He was always flirting... He would undress a girl with his looks. He was too nice sometimes.

Tony Guj
Tony Guj

the criminal system will keep this creep fed and healthy for decades to come. What a failure, bring back public hangings.

Anthea Knapper
Anthea Knapper

He looks nothing like an orthodox Jew. You have failed. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200.


Geeez... exactly how do you prove your innocence (and innocence must be proven here, not the other way around) from a he said / she said from 23 years ago????

MatthewTCoker topcommenter

@Geeez I haven't seen the photos, but if he's in them with said girl, that'd be a clue.


@MatthewTCokerTrue, good point. However, the article (aren't you the author) refers to "incriminating statements". Does not mention photos of the act. If he were creepy and stupid enough to have taken those, in 1990 he would have had to have the old school film developed somewhere? No one at Walgreens would have noticed "substantial sexual conduct", including oral copulation, with a 5-year old?

I'll admit my comment on this case was in haste but the fact remains that it is virtually impossible to defend against allegations of such conduct decades after fact, in this climate.

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