[UPDATED with SAUSD Responses:] Joseph Manuel Orduna, Former Pro Football Player-Turned-High School Teacher, Allegedly Touched Girl Students Inappropriately
UPDATE, FEB. 29, 10:31 A.M.: The Santa Ana Unified School District has posted on its website a response to the arrest of Joseph Manuel Orduna, who is now referred to as a "former teacher" in the headline, although the body copy mentions the Irvine 63-year-old was placed on administrative leave.
The district also sent a letter home to parents of students at Godinez Fundamental High School, where the former NFL player was a popular biology teacher and wrestling coach. Both messages follow after the jump . . .
SAUSD's Response to Former Teacher's Arrest
We are appalled by the former teacher's reprehensible alleged behavior. We acted swiftly upon learning about the allegations, placed him on administrative leave and reported the allegations to the appropriate authorities. We continue to cooperate fully with the Santa Ana Police Department, and we strongly encourage anybody with information that might aid in the investigation to come forward.
ORIGINAL POST, FEB. 28, 12:54 P.M.: Another day, another high school teacher accused of inappropriately touching female students.
But Joseph Manuel Orduna, a biology teacher and wrestling coach at Godinez Fundamental High School in Santa Ana, is also a former NFL player and Nebraska Football Hall of Fame inductee.
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Law enforcement is putting out the word is case there are other victims of the Irvine 63-year-old.
Based on the current charges, Orduna frequently talked about sex in his biology classes, crossing the line with discussion of his own sex life, according to the Orange County District Attorney's office (OCDA). Between April and June of last year, he allegedly made sexually suggestive comments and inappropriately hugged two 16-year-old girls.
He kissed one of the students on the lips as they hugged in the school hallway near the entrance to his classroom, according to the OCDA, which further accuses Orduna of grabbing the butt of the second girl as they hugged tightly for a long time.
The first girl reported the contact to school officials, who in turn alerted the Santa Ana Police Department. The second girl was discovered during the investigation. Orduna is charged with two misdemeanor counts of child annoyance and faces a maximum sentence of two years in jail if he is convicted. He was held in lieu of $15,000 bail pending a yet-to-be scheduled arraignment.
Meanwhile, cops and prosecutors are seeking other possible victims, who are encouraged to contact Santa Ana Police Detective Ed Zaragoza at 714.245.8351 or Supervising District Attorney Investigator Carl Waddell at 714.834.7538.
Speaking of high school, Orduna excelled in football, wrestling and track at Omaha Central High before going on to the University of Nebraska, where he led the team in rushing in 1968 and 1970 and earned All-Big Eight honors in 1970. He went on to be drafted in the second round by the San Francisco 49ers and spent three years in the NFL for the New York Giants and Baltimore Colts. He was inducted into the Nebraska Football Hall of Fame in 1990.
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