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Prosecutors have filed felony charges against Andrea Cardosa, a former teacher accused of sexually assaulting two students, one of whom made her accusations public in a YouTube video that went viral.
Cardosa recently resigned following the YouTube confrontation with her accuser. But now, Cardosa is facing serious criminal charges.
In addition, two Southern California school districts are also facing civil lawsuits over the alleged abuse, reports Los Angeles' KABC-TV.
16 Felony Charges Against Ex-Teacher
Cardosa, 40, was charged with 16 felony counts, including:
Each of the counts applies to a victim known as "Jane Doe 1," except for one count involving a victim called "Jane Doe 2." The first victim, now 28, claims she was abused for years, beginning at the age of 12. The second victim, now 18, claims she was 14 when she was molested by Cardosa.
There is much at stake for Cardosa if she's convicted. In addition to the prospect of registering as a sex offender and never being able to work at a school again, she faces significant imprisonment. The aggravated sexual assaults on a child counts carry potential life sentences.
Civil Lawsuits Against School Districts
An attorney for the second alleged victim has filed lawsuits against the Riverside Unified School District and the Val Verde Unified School District, reports KABC-TV.
School districts can get sued when they fail to reasonably protect students. In 2012, the California Supreme Court ruled that parents and students can sue school districts for negligently hiring, retaining and supervising sexually abusive employees.
In this case, the suit claims the Riverside school district acted negligently when it gave a positive job recommendation to Cardosa, which helped her get a job at the Val Verde school district. The suit claims Val Verde acted negligently in hiring Cardosa.
According to the Los Angeles Times, Cardosa was investigated in 1999 over allegations of child sex abuse. But the investigation resulted in no arrests, charges, or disciplinary action. The civil suits will turn on whether the districts acted unreasonably in light of the facts that were available at the time of the investigation.