Trial reset for ex-Santa Rosa coach

Cepeda accused of sex with 16-year-old student

BROWNSVILLE — For the second time, a judge has reset the trial of a former Santa Rosa teacher and coach charged with having a sexual relationship with a 16-year-old student.

State District Judge Janet Leal has pushed back Josue Cepeda’s trial from Oct. 14 to Feb. 10.

Cepeda, who was charged in May with one count of improper relationship between an educator and student and six counts of sexual assault of a child, was originally set for trial Aug. 5.

Attorney Noe Alaniz, who is representing Cepeda, could not be reached for comment at his law office.

In an affidavit, a 16-year-old girl testified she had sex with Cepeda about five times from January to about March at the Texas Inn in La Feria.

The girl told investigators she became “close” to Cepeda, a high school football and basketball coach, when he taught her criminal justice in 2018, according to the affidavit.

During late January 2019, she said she became “serious or intimate” with Cepeda, who was teaching her principals of law, according to the affidavit.

Related case

In a related case, a trial date has not been reset for Isaac Ruben Flores, 24, stated Victoria Cisneros, spokeswoman for the Cameron County District Attorney’s Office.

Flores, who was charged in May with one count of improper relationship between an educator and student, two counts of sexual assault of a child and four counts of delivery of a controlled substance, or marijuana, was originally set to stand trial Aug. 19.

In an affidavit, a 16-year-old girl testified she had sex with Flores twice at his home from November or December 2018 to early 2019.

The girl told investigators she was in eighth grade when she met Flores, who worked around her school, according to the affidavit.

Soon, they had become friends on Snapshot, a social media outlet, the girl said, according to the affidavit.

The girl testified in the affidavit that she smoked marijuana and drank alcohol with Flores and three other girls, including the girl who testified she had a sexual relationship with Cepeda.

In each of the two cases, bond was set at $525,000.

All charges are second-degree felonies carrying as much as two to 22 years in state prison.

Investigation

In February, the District Attorney’s Office launched an investigation after the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Investigation’s Child Exploitation Task Force received telephone tips regarding allegations Cepeda and Flores were having improper relationships with students, Cisneros has stated.

By May, she said, local, state and federal authorities were trying to identify individuals involved in those alleged incidents while investigating whether they were covered up.

According to the District Attorney’s Office, school district officials failed to respond to reports that Cepeda and Flores were allegedly having relationships with students in May 2018.