Yesterday, the mother of the student who accused JSerra Catholic High School teacher Ricardo Aldana of sexual misconduct filed a restraining order against him. The filing seeks to prevent Aldana from contacting not just the girl, but any member of her family, electronically or in person. The temporary restraining order was issued in the Orange County Superior Court pending a hearing on January 4th.
This seems a little extreme-apparently the family is "fearful of physical and emotional harm" from Aldana, according to their attorney, Vince Finaldi. He goes on to say that before the girl told her mother about the alleged incident with Aldana, the teacher had repeatedly called and texted her without her mother's permission. Finaldi also alleges that Aldana drove the girl to his apartment in Dana Point on one occasion, when she spent the night.
Aldana has yet to be charged, as the Orange County Sheriff's Department is still investigating the case, and that the county's District Attorney's office has until mid-January to file the charges. Is this why the family is reacting so harshly with the restraining order?
Aldana has hired defense attorney Michael Molfetta, who has not only defended Billy Joe Johnson, a convicted double murderer, and Andrew David Fusco, who was convicted of physically abusing his 4-month-old son, but he's also an assistant coach for the JSerra freshman football team.
Molfetta has explained that many details of the case have yet to emerge, and that the public (as well as the school and the family, we might add) has "prematurely convicted his client". We did mention in our first blog on this subject that we and many Aldana supporters noticed that the school and others have ignored our country's "innocent until proven guilty" stance. In fact, Molfetta commented on the "universal outpouring" of support from both male and female students at JSerra for Aldana.
We wonder if the yet-uncovered details show wrongdoing on the part of the family-is that the reason they have the restraining order on Aldana? Was he trying to help the girl (possibly in a misguided or naive fashion) with a family problem? Perhaps there was abuse happening within the family?
"I understand that you have to assume that where there's smoke, there's fire," Molfetta said. "But hopefully, when it's all said and done, we'll know the truth."
We agree with Molfetta, and understand that this is a very serious topic that has had a lot of press recently with the Jerry Sandusky/Penn State allegations and also our Huntington Beach SCATS Gymnastics scandal that has unfolded over the last few months.
Of course, the school and parents would be failing in their duties by ignoring the allegations. We are just asking for a little common sense at the moment-suspend the teacher until the facts are heard, don't fire him. Let a jury of his peers find him innocent or guilty after a trial in court; let's hope a lynch mob is not the family's next order of business after the restraining order.
Do you feel that the school and family have overreacted? Do you feel that Aldana is being unfairly judged, and accused of guilt too early? Do you think that the school acted correctly in firing Aldana instead of just suspending him? We'd like to know your thoughts in the comments below.
At the Law Offices of Glew & Kim, we see all clients as innocent until proven guilty, and believe in equal justice for all. If you or someone you know has been involved in a crime and needs honest, unbiased defense, please call us immediately on 866-416-2161 or use our online form for a free case analysis.
And Happy Hanukkah to all of those celebrating today, from all of us at Glew & Kim.