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JSerra Spanish Teacher Moves Closer to Trial

A judge rules there is enough evidence to try Ricardo Aldana on charges of having sex with a 14-year-old student.

This article was originally published Oct. 6.

The case against a former JSerra Catholic High School teacher and coach accused of sex with a student will go to trial, a judge ruled Friday.

Orange County Superior Court Judge Carlton Biggs heard about an hour of testimony from investigator Margie Sheehan before ruling there was enough evidence against Ricardo Aldana, 37, to send the case to trial.

The Dana Point teacher was fired from JSerra, where he coached the boys soccer team and taught Spanish, after his arrest in December.

He pleaded not guilty Jan. 30 to seven felony counts of committing lewd acts on a child.

The defendant met the girl at JSerra when she was 13, according to prosecutors.

During the hearing in a Newport Beach courtroom, Sheehan said the teen told investigators that during her sophomore year, when she was no longer attending JSerra, she put on her uniform and sat in his class for a day. On that day, he allegedly massaged her shoulders.

The two regularly texted and spoke by telephone, sometimes late into the night, the girl told investigators.

The teen also said Aldana told her he wanted her to be his "14-year-old girlfriend" and wanted to marry her, Sheehan testified.

Prosecutors allege he had sex with her in his Dana Point home while her mother was out of town last September.

On another occasion, Aldana had her wait in his vehicle while he checked his residence to ensure his roommates would not see her enter, Sheehan said.

The two had sex in his room when she was 14, the student told investigators, Sheehan said.

Investigators also interviewed a girl from Hawthorne High School, where Aldana previously taught, who said she had a sexual relationship with him when he was her teacher and soccer coach. She was 16 at the time; Aldana was 26, Sheehan said.

Aldana's former wife met him when she was 16, and married when she turned 18, according to Sheehan.

Defense attorney Michael Molfetta has denied the charges against his client.

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

Following his arrest, a Facebook page titled "Aldana Inspired Me" cropped up to show support for the teacher.

Biggs ordered Aldana to next appear Oct. 15 in a Santa Ana courtroom.

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