LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) — A trial date has been set for the case against a teacher who was arrested and accused of sex crimes with a minor.
The trial for Angel Rafael Cardona has been set for Feb. 20, 2024 at 9 a.m. It’s believed the trial will last 4 days, not including jury selection. The full scheduling order can be seen here:
Cardona was hired by St. Thomas More High School in Lafayette who was arrested in July has been indicted by a federal grand jury on three counts of sex crimes with a minor.
Lawyers for both the defense and prosecution moved to continue the trial beyond the seventy days allowed by the Speedy Trial Act, due to the nature of the charges and the difficulty of both sides to engage in adequate discovery.
Magistrate Judge David J. Ayo ruled “the Court finds that this additional time is reasonable and necessary for effective preparation by counsel for Defendant and the Government, taking into account the exercise of due diligence. The Court finds that the ends of justice served by granting this continuance outweigh the public’s and Defendant’s rights in a speedy trial.”
Cardona has been indicted on two counts of attempted production of child pornography and one count of enticing a minor to engage in sexual activity.
According to the indictment, Cardona is accused of using “a facility and means of interstate commerce,” presumably the internet, to persuade a minor to engage is sex for about three weeks starting June 6.
He is also charged with two counts of using the internet to “employ, use, persuade, induce, entice, and coerce a minor to engage in sexually explicit conduct, and attempt to do so, for the purpose of producing a visual depiction of said conduct,” and to transmit those images. Those were alleged to have happened on two occasions, June 11 and 13.
Cardona was hired by STM to start teaching this school year, but was arrested and then fired before he set foot in a STM classroom. He was also employed as an assistant coach, and, according to the school, “all assistant coaching responsibilities over the summer were always under the direct observation and supervision of the STM coaching staff, with no complaints, concerns, or incidents reported.”
The arrest comes on the heels of the arrest and prosecution on federal charges of child pornography and sexual assault of a student of former STM teacher and coach Jacob de la Paz in April. De la Paz was indicted by a federal grand jury on May 17 for one count of attempted production of child pornography in connection with an incident on or about Jan. 12.
Read the entire indictment here: