By PAUL ANDERSON
City News Service
A Spanish teacher and soccer coach at a Roman Catholic high school in San Juan Capistrano had sex with a 14-year-old girl in his Dana Park home, a prosecutor told jurors today, but the defendant's lawyer said the alleged victim has a history of making unfounded allegations to get attention.
Ricardo Aldana, 40 -- charged with seven felony counts of lewd acts on a child -- faces up to seven years in prison if convicted.
Aldana was fired from JSerra Catholic High School following his arrest in December 2011. Aldana coached the boys soccer team at the school.
Aldana met his accuser when she was 13 and a freshman at the school, Senior Deputy District Attorney Jana Hoffmann said. By her sophomore year, she was being home-schooled, but she kept in touch with the defendant, the prosecutor said.
Aldana was arrested following a "covert" phone call to the defendant monitored by investigators.
"A panicked Ricardo Aldana tells her he loves her," on the phone call, Hoffmann said. "Mr. Aldana never denies having sex with (the alleged victim)."
During the phone call, when the girl said she was concerned about sexually transmitted diseases Aldana assured her he had been checked, then asked if he had to worry about contracting a disease from her, Hoffmann said.
Aldana's lawyer, Michael Molfetta, said the girl had alleged being abused by her father and made another claim against another adult, both of which were determined to be unfounded.
Acknowledging the girl has credibility issues, Hoffmann said, "Of course this victim is not perfect, but the people are confident that when you look at all the facts ... these criticisms of her character will be overcome by the evidence."
The prosecutor said that Aldana had a history of dating high school girls he met as a coach and teacher.
When the defendant was 21 he started dating a 16-year-old girl he married when she turned 18, Hoffmann said.
In 2002, when Aldana coached at Hawthorne High School, he allegedly had sex with a 17-year-old student whose brother played on the soccer team the defendant coached, Hoffmann said. When those allegations came to light, Aldana was fired, but the teen declined to pursue the case in court, Hoffmann said.
When Aldana was hired by JSerra in 2005 he lied on his job application when asked if he had been the subject of a sex crime allegation, Hoffmann said.
At the end of her freshman year, the accuser wrote a note to Aldana saying she had a "crush" on him, Hoffmann said. The two exchanged phone numbers and would send text messages to each other, the prosecutor added.
"She questions their age difference and he asks her if she wants to be his 14-year-old girlfriend," Hoffmann said. "They liked each other. There was a mutual flirtation."
When the girl's mother was out of town, Aldana picked her up and took her back to his place where they engaged in multiple sex acts, Hoffmann alleged.
When the girl said she was concerned about getting pregnant, Aldana put on a condom, Hoffmann said.
Aldana's lawyer said his client did court his now ex-wife, starting when she was 16, but he did not "consummate" the relationship until she was of legal age and they married.
"It wasn't hidden or kept in the back seats of cars on sweaty nights," Molfetta said, adding Aldana asked for the blessing of his betrothed's family.