Thu. Mar 30th, 2023

UPDATE: The OC Register’s online article about this has some interesting comments, here.

Joseph Manuel Orduna, an Irvine resident and wrestling coach/teacher at the Santa Ana Unified School District’s (SAUSD) Godinez Fundamental High School, has been arrested and charged with “making sexually suggestive comments and inappropriately touching two female students.”  The SAPD and the OCDA are seeking the public’s help in identifying additional victims.

A running back, Orduna starred at the University of Nebraska before going on to play for the New York Giants and Baltimore Colts in the 1970s, according to Fox News.

FYI, this one hits close to home, as I have a son who is a sophomore at Godinez and another son who graduated from Godinez and is now at UCLA.  Godinez is a great school with top administrators and teachers – as such this case is a real shocker. 

As usual, there is NO WORD OF THIS AT ALL on the SAUSD’s websiteUPDATE: SAUSD Superintendent Thelma Melendez de Santa Ana responded to an email I sent her today, regarding this topic.  She said that this information will be posted on the district’s website “as soon as possible” today and that she is working with the administrators at Godinez on a plan to “distribute information to the parents.”  It should be noted that the district has a full-time webmaster on their staff, as well as a well-staffed Public Information Office.

UPDATE: The SAUSD has posted their response to this story on their website.  Here is their one-paragraph response:

SAUSD’s Response to Former Teacher’s Arrest

We are appalled by the former teacher’s reprehensible alleged behavior. We acted swiftly upon learning about the allegations, placed him on administrative leave and reported the allegations to the appropriate authorities. We continue to cooperate fully with the Santa Ana Police Department, and we strongly encourage anybody with information that might aid in the investigation to come forward.

Note that they are calling the suspect a “former teacher.”  But they admit to placing him on leave, so he wasn’t a “former” teacher when this happened – that is just spin.  They did not write a response in Spanish, but they do have a translating tool on their website.

Also, the SAUSD did post this on their Facebook page, but only after they Tweeted it at at @Santaanausd.

I did NOT get a call from Godinez about this.  They usually do robot calls when they need to communicate to parents.

UPDATE: Click here to see the letter that the SAUSD has sent to the Godinez parents.  They are also now looking into the allegations that Orduna previously worked at Villa Intermediate.  I brought those allegations to their attention after a reader posted that in a comment on this post.

Here is the SAPD/OCDA’s press release on the matter:


Contact: Cpl. Anthony Bertagna, Public Information Officer, Santa Ana Police Department, 714-245-8029/714-709-2043
Susan Kang Schroeder, Chief of Staff, Orange County District Attorney, 714-347-8408/714-292-2718
Farrah Emami, Spokesperson, Orange County District Attorney, 714-347-8405/714-323-4486


SANTA ANA – Law enforcement is seeking the public’s help identifying potential additional victims of a high school biology teacher who has been arrested today by the Santa Ana Police Department (SAPD) and charged with making sexually suggestive comments and inappropriately touching two female students. Joseph Manuel Orduna, 63, Irvine, is charged with two misdemeanor counts of child annoyance and faces a maximum sentence of two years in jail if convicted. He is being held on $25,000 bail and is expected to be arraigned at a later date in Department CJ-1, Central Jail, Santa Ana.

At the time of the crimes, Orduna was a biology teacher and wresting coach at Godinez Fundamental High School in Santa Ana. The defendant is accused of frequently making inappropriate comments about sex in front of his class including discussing details of his sex life.

Between April and June 2011, he is accused of making sexually suggestive comments and inappropriately touching two 16-year-old female students. The defendant is accused of frequently tightly hugging both victims for long periods of time.

On one occasion, Orduna is accused of kissing Jane Doe #1 on the lips while giving her a hug in the hallway of the school near the entrance to his classroom. On another occasion, Orduna is accused of grabbing Jane Doe #2’s buttocks while hugging her.

Jane Doe #1 reported the inappropriate contact to school officials, who contacted the Santa Ana Police Department (SAPD). In the course of their investigation, SAPD learned of the inappropriate contact with Jane Doe #2.

Santa Ana Unified School District is aware of the allegations, assisted in the investigation and has taken affirmative steps to ensure student safety.

Anyone with additional information or who believes they have been a victim is encouraged to contact SAPD Detective Ed Zaragoza at (714) 245-8351 or Supervising District Attorney Investigator Carl Waddell at (714) 834-7538.

Deputy District Attorney Brad Schoenleben is prosecuting this case.


The SAUSD Trustees do not list their contact information on the SAUSD website, so here is how you can contact them:

By Editor

The New Santa Ana blog has been covering news, events and politics in Santa Ana since 2009.

24 thoughts on “Was the SAUSD prepared for the arrest of a Godinez teacher, on sex charges?”
    1. yup..from my perspective. everytime in class things like “sex” “breast” would slip out of his mouth..its as if he was always thinking sexual. i’d always feel uncomfortable talking to him

  1. Sounds like he has a lot of defenders. I would withhold judgement until the facts come out. Stranger things have happened than a teacher being falsely accused.

    1. A friend of mine reminded me of that today. I think we should also refrain from automatically disbelieving the students. But yes, the investigation needs to run its course.

      What disappointed me today was how the district handled this. They did not seem prepared for this scenario at all.

  2. he is inocent i haven known him 6 years and he would never do such a thing like this I’m pretty sure the girls made it up like is there such prof of this !? He has been such a great man that would always give students adivice and would help them out in anyway. but everything he is been acused is not true and that Girl xxxxx xxxxx doesnt even know a anything about him he would never make his students write about there sexual life , and people if you don’t know him to judge him god bless him & his family and close that we are goin thru with him.

    1. We don’t know yet what happened. But trying to name one of the alleged victims is not the right thing to do. And if you read the comments at the Register it was clear that a lot of students have observed this behavior. The question will be, what was his intent?

  3. I had Mr.Orduña for biology an I was there when we would have the aids/Hiv talks with the students.. permission skiwps were sent out to those wanting to learn from subjects like sex and aids… he was an honest man that desired to help students overcome themselves from peer pressure he told girls not to be fooled by man and be.more decent when it came to clothes apparel… he was as well my wrestling coach he was always at side.lines instructing from a distance due to his back and health problems most of the training was left to the assistant coaches he had… one of the girls that accused him were M
    Xxxxxxx xxxxxxxx a senior at the same school she was always a.drama queen and always making a scene she wanted attention and Mr.O kindly gave her a hug to.brighten her day.. he was at his retiring stage he wanted to do so he did… and I will this say to who is reading this Mr. Orduña has the school Godinez on his side!!! FREE MR.ORDUÑA!!!!

    1. If he is innocent SAUSD will find him guilty..becuz in our opinions, SAUSD only help the GUILTY..for instance, food service our opinions..nothing is being done!!!
      Allegations and Inquiries—-SAUSD/Bishop or The board members…do you know what little time Mark Chaves actually spends at the his office or what really happens at the Central Kitchen…?????
      Mark Chavez is not out visiting Sites…just ask the lunch supervisors at each site..? Who can account his forty hours a week???
      During OUR STATE VISIT..MARK CHAVEZ did not even come by and review our sites…We are assuming cuz he doesnt even know what to look for….Mark CHavez just left us at our sites to do all the dirty work while Mark just relaxed…NOT RIGHT!!!!
      For a food service director theirs a Lack of knowledge for federal and state policies and procedures is just amazing and NOT in a good way!!!
      How did we change from US FOODS to GOLD STAR without a proper bidding process? Hello USDA??? Tax payers $$$
      QUESTION ????? TO HR / Board Memembers /MR. Bishop…..Did Mark Chavez interview for the Food Service Director JOB? Was it promised to him since JAN( prior food service director) was terminated on her last day of probation …WHY NOT,.JUST HIRE A TRUE FOOD SERVICE DIRECTOR..?????Why allow so many consultant and have taxpayers pay…???????
      Thelma Mendez..d discard log are not for major food waste..I think for major food waste theirs a policy/procedure to be followd and the state should b informd when discrading so much food. So dont believe everything ur told Thelma….
      I never thought I would say this..but SAUSD could actually benefit from a consulting company..but, we will give the new Asst. Director a chance…give him the Food Service Director Job…
      .Someone out there PLEASE help the department so the students get better service and taxpayesr money doesnt go to waste.
      WHY is the district looking for the whistle blower when their answer to the solution is MARK CHAVEZ…take care of problem and stop trying 2figure our who the whistleblowers are..they are people who care about our children in Santa Ana..and they are people who have witnessed the injustice of SAUSD…
      This is our freedom of i said when we startd..2CYA..this is all allegdly!!

  4. Well, one less person that they have to worry about if they have any RIFs. SAUSD is already in trouble with their own finances and to tag this will even be a bigger blow to their pocket books! SAUSD is too big, it needs to broken up into two school districts. Why is this not posted on their main web-site? What is SAUSD hiding? This is very disrespectful towards the alleged victims. Who knows, possible more victims? What’s next, sex scandal???

  5. Yo, conoci al senor Orduna el ano pasado. fue el maestro de biologia de mi hijo, y les digo que es un maestro que de verdad se preocupa por los alumnos la manera como les hablaba era de respeto,y les decia que tenian que que ser indaependientes de si mismos y estudiar muy duro para ser unas personas y estudinates inteligentes, a mi hijo le decia mucho que no perdiera su tiempo que estudiara mucho….pero claro siempre tiene que haber las ninitas mimadas,locas y se viste todas encueradas para luego decir ” hay mira como me mira, dejenerado”….las estupidas son ellas que no saben que ven tan ridiculas con esas minifaldas que se les ve toda la celulitis……LIBRE PROFESOR ORDUNA!!!!!!

  6. I’ve known Joe and his family for nearly 30 years. He is an incredibly honorable man who is dedicated to helping those in need, and he devoted his teaching career to making better people and citizens of his students. I cannot believe that there was any malicious intent on Joe’s part. He is a trusted friend and was like a second father to my children. And, what is “Chid Annoyance” anyway? Are we now legally protected from being annoyed?

  7. I graduated from Godinez on 2010, the first graduating class and even from back then I had seen Mr. Orduna hug female students during lunch, at one time i was walking with a female classmate and talking and he passed by and hugged her, i told her why she let him hug her and she told me that she didnt like the hugs. He went on his way and i noticed that he hugged various other female students.After he left I told her the hugs were innapropriate because hes a teacher and all that but we never said or did anything about it. Im just saying that hes been known to hug female students since i was a senior there, it could have happened longer before that but its still innapropriate for a teacher to hug a student daily specially since it is a fundamental school and the teachers would pull couple students apart if they were hugging.

  8. Allegations, Mark Chavez food service director swears, says inappropriate things…and he is still the food service director…..why not investigate him?
    A political favor? Inquiring minds want to know!!
    Let the invetigation run it’s course..but then again..if the SAUSD is involved and they want to make an example out of this man being accused of sexual misconduct…whether he is guilty or not..they will find him guilty..
    Just as they continue to employ an unfit Food Service Director, Mark Chavez…our opinions and our thoughts….
    SAUSD in our opinions is corrupt and only helps the guilty..someone needs to seu them,,mayb the former Food Service Director Jan that was terminated on her last day of probation should seu..clearly it was all planned…
    We hope the truth is revealed and that SAUSD does not sway the investigation…like they continue to employ Mark Chavez..political favors…hamburger college does not make a suitable food service director….
    Just our opinions…check Mark Chavez’s resume…

  9. It wasnt going on simple as that he was found not guilty of all charges and the girls had many holes in their stories aswell as reasons to lie seeing as they didnt like him. Its unfortunate that theres so much coverage for an alleged incident but not coverage let alone equil repercussions for those who lied and ruined his name, this is a good man who hopefully is doing well now after being falsey accused.

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