UPDATE, 7/26/2023, 9 a.m.: Cardona has been charged with enticement of a minor to engage in sexual activity and attempted production of child pornography. Cardona has requested a public defender, according to court records. His preliminary hearing is set for Monday at 10 a.m. before Magistrate Judge David J. Ayo. Cardona has waived his right to a detention hearing and will remain in custody.
ORIGINAL STORY: LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) — St. Thomas More High School in Lafayette is dealing with another teacher in legal hot water, according to a letter sent to parents signed by Martin Cannon, school principal, and the Rev. Michael Russo, chancellor.
“(Monday) afternoon, the STM administration was notified by federal agents that an individual scheduled to begin teaching at St. Thomas More for the upcoming school year was placed under arrest,” the letter read. “While we are not at liberty to discuss the details, please be assured that consistent with its strict hiring protocols, St. Thomas More conducted extensive research into this applicant’s background and teaching history during the hiring process.”
While the letter did not name the person in question, KLFY has learned that the teacher’s name is Angel Cardona, who is listed as incarcerated at the Iberia Parish Jail. Read his criminal complaint here:
According to the letter sent to parents, the unnamed applicant passed all required background checks and was given positive reviews by former school administrators and coaches.
“Since this individual was hired after the last day of school, there was no academic instructional time with students,” the letter read. “Furthermore, 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.
“Under the circumstances, this individual is no longer eligible for employment with STM,” the letter reads. “We are grateful to law enforcement for their service and vigilance. In addition, we remain committed to ensuring the safety of our entire STM community and uncompromising in the standards to which we hold ourselves and anyone involved in the formation of our students.”