Three years ago, a young woman posted a video to YouTube wherein she exposed ex-physical education teacher Andrea Cardosa for having molested her while she was a student at Chemawa Middle School in the mid-90s. The video, which showed the then 28-year-old woman confronting Cardosa over the phone, quickly went viral, prompting another former student to come forward with similar allegations, and was instrumental in convicting the teacher of sexual misconduct for which she is currently serving 10 years in state prison. The victim, known only as Jamie C., filed a civil lawsuit against Cardosa and the Riverside Unified School District, which was settled out of court on November 23, 2016, for an undisclosed amount. Jamie’s attorney David Ring stated although the terms of the settlement remain confidential, his client is satisfied with the results.
Cardosa, who was the acting vice principal at Alhambra High School during the time the phone call took place, inadvertently confessed to molesting Jamie after responding with “I regret it every day,” when asked why she did it. Jamie was just 12-years-old when the abuse first began, which continued until she was around 20. Because the statute of limitations had already passed, Jamie sent a link to the video to Alhambra High School’s principal in the hopes Cardosa would lose her job. However, it was instead passed on to Riverside police, who found it incriminating enough to reopen a prior investigation of Cardosa from 1998; at the time, Jamie refused to admit she had been molested out of fear and shame.
During Cardosa’s criminal trial, where she faced a total of 16 felony charges and pleaded guilty to three, Jamie read her victim impact statement aloud in court, saying, “I will stand up for my 12-year-old self who did not have anyone to fight for her. It is never OK for an adult to betray the trust of a child.”
She and the other student victim who came forward after the video, both of whom are now mothers to young children, stated how they continue to have nightmares, as well as trouble trusting authority figures, particularly when it comes to leaving their children in another’s care. The second alleged victim, referred to as B.G., has also filed a civil lawsuit against Cardosa and the Val Verde Unified School District where the purported abuse took place between 2009 and 2010, though it has yet to be resolved.
Speaking of his client via email, Ring wrote, “Jamie was an inspiration to thousands of victims across this country by confronting her abuser and obtaining an admission that led to (teacher Andrea Michelle) Cardosa’s arrest and imprisonment. Victims have told Jamie they, too, were inspired to confront their abusers, so they could obtain some closure in their lives.”
At this time, officials from Riverside Unified School District have declined to comment on the case, and though a settlement was reached, it must still be approved by a judge.
As for Jamie C., she is glad she found the courage to confront Cardosa and hopes her actions inspire other victims of sexual abuse to do the same. She said, “It’s OK to come forward. It’s not your fault.”