Judge orders ex-coach back into custody

Josue Cepeda

Former Santa Rosa High School teacher and coach Josue Cepeda was taken into custody on allegations he violated his bond agreement related to pending state-level charges involving an alleged sexual assault of a minor student.

Cepeda, 35, appeared before 103rd state District Judge Janet Leal for a bond hearing on Friday morning after state prosecutors submitted a motion asking the court to revoke his bond agreement.

“I’ve received several complaints,” said the judge, before asking Cepeda’s attorney to address allegations that included that he travelled to New Mexico, as well as to Mexico and to Clemens High School in the San Antonio area, despite the fact that he was not granted permission.

Cepeda’s attorney was interrupted by Leal after arguing that the violations had been discussed with another judge. “I’m the one you answer to,” she said.

Leal asked Cepeda to clarify. He argued that the agreement specified that he was told to stay away from Santa Rosa High School but did not mention other high schools.

“Don’t give me loopholes. You don’t get to make your own exceptions,” Leal said, before ordering Cepeda back into custody.

“You don’t have enough common sense to be out on bond,” she said.

Records show that Cepeda was booked at the Cameron County Jail on Friday.

A progress report dated Dec. 26 detailed multiple alleged violations of Cepeda’s bond agreement dating back to July 2019, just three days after he was fitted with a GPS ankle monitor device.

The document stated that on July 29, Cepeda’s attorney told the state that his client was in San Antonio, where he reported that he was visiting family and participating in a training course.

The same day, Cepeda was located on the property of Clemens High School twice, the document indicates. He told probation that he was dropping his son off at football camp, again without permission, according to the document.

On Dec. 21, the GPS device indicated that Cepeda left the state without reporting, the document states.

He was tracked traveling to various locations in New Mexico, including Sierra Blanca Peak, Mountain of Gods Resort and Casino, Mescarelo Lake, Tierra Del Sol Condo Resort, and Eagle Creek Sports Complex/Ruidoso Winter Park before returning to Texas two days later, the document indicates.

On Dec. 27, Cepeda reported that he would be traveling to Mexico to get medication and he was advised that he did not have the permission to go, according to the report. His attorney confirmed in court on Friday that he did, in fact, travel to Mexico.

Cepeda was also tracked passing by Santa Rosa High School twice on Dec. 27, the record shows. The recorded durations were 37 seconds and just over one minute. The following day, GPS tracked Cepeda passing the school for another 32 seconds, the record shows.

On Dec. 29, Cepeda passed by the school twice for 36 seconds and 37 seconds, and he reported a change of address to Scherz, Texas — in the San Antonio area — in September, according to the report.

Cepeda was charged in two state-level cases in May of last year after authorities alleged that he pursued a sexual relationship with a teenage girl who was his student in a criminal justice class.

Cepeda also served as high school football and basketball coach, according to court records.

In May, he was charged with one count of improper relationship between an educator and a student and six counts of sexual assault of a child. Both cases are pending.

Court records indicated that Cepeda was suspended from his position in February 2019.

esheridan@brownsvilleherald.com