SANTA ANA (CBSLA.com) — A Orange County coach and former teacher Thursday was charged with molesting a young family member, the Orange County District Attorney’s Office said.
Robert Ornelas, 62, of Santa Ana, was arrested Tuesday on two felony counts of lewd acts on a child after a months-long investigation.
“A confidential informant came forward April of this year with some information and the subsequent investigation is what led up to the arrest,” Orange County Sheriff’s Lt. Mike Gavin told KNX1070.
Ornelas is accused of sexually assaulting a female relative between 1990 and 1996, starting when she was 5 years old.
“He is accused of molesting the victim while she was visiting his home including masturbation and oral copulation,” Farrah Emami of the OC District Attorney’s Office said.
An investigation into the molestation allegations led the Orange County Child Exploitation Task Force, which includes the FBI, to carry out a search warrant Tuesday at Ornelas’ Santa Ana home, located in the 13000 block of Prospect Avenue.
The task force discovered thousands of pornographic images, including both digital and hard copies, Laura Eimiller of the FBI said.
Information related to the alleged sexual assault of the female relative was also found.
“We feel like we have a real solid case for our first victim and just since last week, we’ve been able to identify two more victims,” Gavin said.
Ornelas was employed as a teacher with the Santa Ana School District from 1992 to 2003 and was a girls’ softball coach during that same time period, according to the FBI.
He also worked at an unlicensed day care facility run by his mother in the 1980s and early 1990s.
Recovered evidence suggests that “there may be several additional victims of molestation – some that may date back to the 1980s,” Eimiller stated.
Ornelas is being held on $1 million bail at the Orange County Jail. He is scheduled to be arraigned Thursday afternoon.
The possession of child pornography investigation is ongoing and charges have yet to be filed by authorities.
Officials believe there may be other possible victims, mostly female, under the age of 12.
Anyone with information should contact the Orange County Sheriff’s Department at (714)647-7000 or the FBI’s Orange County Office at (714)939-8699.