SANTA ANA ( — An Orange County judge has dismissed misdemeanor child annoyance charges against a retired Santa Ana teacher and former NFL running back.

KNX 1070’s Mike Landa reports Joseph Manuel Orduna, 64, was teary-eyed when Judge William Evans issued the ruling.

Orduna, a former teacher and wrestling coach at Godinez Fundamental High School, was arrested in February on charges of fondling two students.

He was accused of kissing a 16-year-old student on the lips while hugging her in the hallway near his classroom in April of last year and fondling another student’s buttocks while hugging her, police said at the time of his arrest.

Evans rejected Deputy District Attorney Bryan Clavecilla motion for another trial after jurors deadlocked in favor of acquittal, saying he did not believe another trial would result in a guilty verdict.

But defense attorney David Cohn said it was Orduna’s reaction to the judge’s decision that speaks volumes about his client’s innocence.

“He finally was able to just release it, it just came over him, it was nothing contrived in any way,” said Cohn. “I barely could do everything we could to get him out of the courtroom with his family and friends.”

Orduna played running back for the New York Giants and Baltimore Colts from 1972 to 1974 before pursuing his teaching career.


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