Charges Against Recently-Arrested St. Thomas More Coach Made Public
LAFAYETTE, La. (KPEL News) - On Monday, St. Thomas More alerted parents that a teacher and assistant coach at the school had been arrested by federal agents and fired from the school. As of Wednesday morning, the charges against him have been made public.
Angel Cardona was scrubbed from the STM site, according to KATC, but records indicated a man of the same name was being held for the U.S. Marshals in the Iberia Parish jail. However, at the time of that report, the charges were unknown.
However, KATC reported Wednesday morning that the case against Cardona has been unsealed.
This morning, a complaint in his federal case file was unsealed. It was filed on July 21 by an FBI agent, and it accuses Cardona of Enticement of a Minor to Engage in Sexual Activity and Attempted Production of Child Pornography. The complaint alleges that the crimes occurred between June 14 and July 16 of this year.
According to the U.S. District Attorney's Office, Cardona is being held without bond and is set to be held in the John M. Shaw United States Courthouse on July 31, 2023, at 10:00 a.m.
At next week's hearing, prosecutors will argue that "probable cause exists in support of the criminal complaint" and that the former football coach should "be held without bond pending a formal charging decision and possible presentment of the case to a federal grand jury."
The U.S. Attorney's Office also confirmed that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and U.S. Department of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) were the agencies investigating Cardona.
Cardona was originally listed on the STM website as an assistant coach and World Languages teacher. He had previously been the head football coach at East Jefferson Parish High School before resigning midway through the 2022 season.
He was also a star football player and coach in Puerto Rico, according to the Puerto Rico All-Pro Football Clinics, a group he helped establish.
Our original story of Cardona's arrest is below.
For the second time this year, a coach at St. Thomas More Catholic School has been arrested and fired. The Diocese of Lafayette confirmed the arrest to local media on Tuesday.
According to KATC, the Diocese sent out a letter to parents on Monday about the arrest.
"This 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 states. "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. The application 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. 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.
"Under the circumstances, this individual is no longer eligible for employment with STM. 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."
KATC also confirmed that a faculty member by the name of Angel Cardona had been scrubbed from the school's website, and was booked into the Iberia Parish jail on hold for U.S. Marshals.
Before coming to STM, Cardona was the head football coach at East Jefferson High School, but only for half the season in 2022. It was announced that he was leaving for personal reasons.
This is the second time this year a coach at STM has been both fired and arrested. The first was Jacob de la Paz, who is currently awaiting trial for attempting to produce child pornography. He was fired from the school after a video of him talking in a sexually explicit manner was leaked to social media. The video was allegedly sent to a minor.
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