RIVERSIDE (AP) — A lawyer for a California educator accused of sex crimes after a former student talked about sex-abuse allegations on YouTube said Friday that the charges are too old to be tried in court.
Defense attorney Randy Collins said the charges filed last month against 40-year-old former assistant principal Andrea Cardosa should be dismissed because of the statute of limitations. Collins said he has learned that Riverside police investigated the allegations in 1998, which he said would preclude prosecutors from bringing forward a case so many years later.
“Right now, we’re not even dealing with the substance of the allegations,” Collins told reporters after a brief hearing in a Riverside courtroom where a shackled Cardosa smiled sadly and winked at about a dozen supporters. “Is it time-barred, yes or no? That’s the issue we’re dealing with right now.”
Collins said he will also ask for Cardosa’s $5 million bail to be lowered because she is neither a danger to the community nor a flight risk.
Cardosa’s next court date is April 18. Her arraignment had been scheduled for Friday but was postponed.
The district attorney’s office disputed Collins’ positions.
“We don’t believe we have a statute of limitations issue or we would not have filed these charges,” spokesman John Hall said.
The current bail is appropriate because Cardosa faces five charges of aggravated sexual assault on a child that carry potential life sentences, he said.
A judge will have to determine if the YouTube video is admissible, Hall said. Collins said he plans to challenge prosecutors’ efforts to use it in court because it was “surreptitiously taken.”
One of Cardosa’s two accusers posted the YouTube video on Jan. 17. In it, the now-adult former student called someone who identified herself as Cardosa. The accuser, who says the abuse began when she was 12 and Cardosa was her middle school basketball coach, sent a video link to the principal of a high school in Los Angeles County where Cardosa worked. Cardosa quickly resigned her post.
The second accuser then came forward.
Cardosa was arrested and charged with 16 felony counts on Feb. 3. In court papers, police say Cardosa acknowledged in an interview with investigators that she had a previous sexual relationship with the former student.