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Aldana Pleads Not Guilty to Sex Charges

The former JSerra teacher and coach will next appear in court Feb. 24.

A former Spanish teacher and soccer coach at   pleaded not guilty Monday to charges of having sex with a 14-year-old student.

Ricardo Aldana, 37, of Dana Point, , according to Deputy District Attorney Jana Hoffmann.

Aldana, who was arraigned at the , is next due in court on Feb. 24 for a pretrial hearing, defense attorney Michael Molfetta said.

, where he coached the boys soccer team and taught Spanish classes, upon his arrest in December.

The defendant met the girl at JSerra when she was 13, according to prosecutors, who allege he had sex with her in his Dana Point home while her mother was out of town last September.

Last June, when the girl was 14, he allegedly massaged her in an inappropriate way. He also allegedly sent text messages to the girl and talked to her by telephone.

Molfetta denied the charges against his client, and criticized prosecutors for putting out a news release about the arrest and the charges.

"I have a lot of respect for the D.A.'s office. I have no doubt that
they believe in their case, and I am sure they feel a conviction is imminent," Molfetta said last week. "But I am not a fan of press releases. I see no need to stand on the courthouse steps and publicly level accusations and leak facts to the public ...

"When live bullets start to fly and facts are brought forth, the truth
shall come out," he said. "That is when press releases matter. Until then,
let's save some trees and do our talking in court."

If convicted as charged, Aldana could get up to seven years in prison.

Meanwhile, a new Facebook page has cropped up to show support for the teacher, who previously taught at Hawthorne High. Ever since the charges were filed on Friday, the page has featured prayers for Aldana.

 – City News Service

Matt Gaffney January 31, 2012 at 05:16 PM
Even if he's not guilty, there's no excuse for a teacher to allow himself of herself to be involved in a situation like this with a student.

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