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California educator accused on YouTube of sexual abuse charged with 16 felonies

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STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Our justice system requires more than a YouTube video," teacher's attorney says
  • Andrea Cardosa is expected in court on Thursday, could face life in prison if convicted
  • Authorities say she is the educator accused in a YouTube video of sexual abuse
  • She was charged Monday with aggravated sexual assault, other offenses

By Steve Almasy

A California educator who authorities say is the person accused in a YouTube video of sexual abuse by a former student was charged Monday with 16 felony counts of child sex abuse, the Riverside County District Attorney's Office said.

Andrea Michelle Cardosa was charged with five counts of aggravated sexual assault on a child and 11 counts of lewd acts on a child, the DA's office said.

Cardosa was arrested Monday evening by sheriff's deputies and is expected to be arraigned Thursday. She faces possible life in prison if convicted of the aggravated sexual assault charges.

Cardosa's lawyer, Randy Collins, said in a written statement that in the face of "very public claims of abuse," it would be his task "to see that justice prevails in the midst of the media wildfire."

He added, "Fortunately, our justice system requires more than a YouTube video to determine the facts of a case. As we proceed, I am certain that evidence will shed new light on all charges filed by the D.A.'s office against my client."

Collins said Cardosa was grateful for the "outpouring of support from her family, friends, colleagues, and students during this difficult time."

Earlier, he said Cardosa's legal team planned to challenge the filing against the statute of limitations and challenge the bail motion to reduce the amount from $5 million.

Two women have come forward in connection with the case. The first woman, now 28, posted a YouTube video in which she accused the educator of abusing her at age 12.

The second alleged victim, now 18, has filed a complaint accusing the Val Verde Unified School District in Perris, California, of negligence.

David Ring, lawyer for the older woman, said, "She is very gratified that the DA has brought charges against this perpetrator. She hopes justice is done in the criminal case and that Cardosa admits to what she's done, which she already admitted to in the phone call -- that she ruined her childhood."

Cardosa resigned January 17 from her most recent job as an administrator at Alhambra High School in Southern California after the first accusation was uploaded on YouTube, according to the school district.

The video features the alleged victim on camera and what is said to be the teacher's voice on a phone conversation. In the video, the teacher can be heard acknowledging the abuse claim.

The first alleged victim said the abuse took place "off and on" for her between the ages of 12 and 18. She said she didn't come forward as a teenager because the teacher had brainwashed her.

"She told me that my family didn't love me. She told me that nobody cared about me and that she was the only one that loved me and the only one that was there for me," she said. "She made me believe that she was my only friend, and that I could trust her."

The alleged victim said she didn't want a physical relationship, but she said the teacher threatened her multiple times.

"She said that she would kill herself if I ever left. And I believed that," the alleged victim said.

CNN first learned of Monday's charges on Twitter.

 

CNN's Stephanie Elam and Artemis Moshtaghian contributed to this story.

 

The-CNN-Wire

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