A former Southern California educator was jailed on felony charges that could send her to prison for life after a former female student accused her of sexual abuse in a YouTube video that’s gained nearly a million views and prompted another girl to come forward.
Andrea Cardosa, 40, who quit her job as an assistant principal immediately after the YouTube video was posted last month and previously worked as a teacher and coach, was arrested Monday night shortly after she was charged with five counts of aggravated sexual assault on a child and 11 other counts of abuse involving two victims, Riverside County district attorney’s spokesman John Hall said. A second woman said she reported allegations after seeing the YouTube video.
Cardosa’s lawyer, Randy Collins, said after charges were filed that he couldn’t immediately comment because prosecutors hadn’t informed him yet. In a second attempt to reach him after the arrest, Collins’ phone was not accepting messages, and he did not immediately reply to an email message. Cardosa was expected to be arraigned Thursday.
The case came to light after a now-28-year-old woman posted the video Jan. 17 showing her making a call to confront Cardosa about the abuse allegations that she said began when she was 12 and Cardosa was her basketball coach.
The video was also sent to the Alhambra Unified School District, where Cardosa was working as an assistant principal. The superintendent immediately referred the case to police, and Cardosa resigned the same day.
Because the five aggravated sexual assault charges carry a life sentence and meet a handful of other conditions, the statute of limitations does not apply though the alleged crimes took place between 1997 and 2001, Hall said.
Fifteen of the counts stem from allegations of abuse against the woman, named Jamie, who posted the YouTube video, and one stems from accusations related to the second woman, named Brianna. Both women asked to be identified by their first names, and The Associated Press is not using either woman’s full name because they say they are victims of sexual abuse.
Brianna said she came forward after watching Jamie’s video, which was viewed nearly 1 million times just days after it was posted.
In it, Jamie phones Alhambra High School, where receptionists connected her to a woman who identifies herself as Cardosa.
“You should be so ashamed and so disgusted with yourself,” Jamie says.
“I am. I am,” the woman says. “I regret it every day. Every day.”
Jamie does not give specifics of the alleged abuse in the video.
Brianna, who is now 18, said Cardosa befriended her mother while Brianna was a student at Tomas Rivera Middle School in Perris in 2010.
She then “groomed” Brianna by giving her movie tickets, candy bars and lunch trips and calling her special, then made several sexual advances, inappropriately touching her and abusing her, according to a legal claim filed by her attorney.
Jamie said she came forward because her daughter is about the age she was when the abuse began and she wanted to prevent other kids from being molested.
Jamie’s lawyer, David Ring, told The Associated Press last month that Jamie made “a spur of the moment decision” to call the woman after searching for her name on the Internet and discovering she still worked with children.
“She was incredibly bothered by the abuse for a long time,” he said.