Former Santa Rosa teacher to remain in custody

Isaac Flores and Josue Cepeda

Former Santa Rosa High School teacher and coach Josue Cepeda appeared in court in Brownsville for a status hearing Thursday following his re-arrest at a hearing on alleged bond agreement violations in January.

Attorneys for the state told 103rd state District Court Judge Janet Leal that the two pending cases against Cepeda had been dismissed and merged into a single case with an additional charge.

Cepeda’s attorney told the court he would enter a waiver of arraignment on the new indictment, which was filed on Feb. 12.

Cepeda was charged with one additional count — “two or more acts of trafficking of persons”, according to the re-filed indictment. The document accused Cepeda of transporting an anonymous minor and causing the child to engage in or become a victim of sexual assault.

A plea offer entered into one of Cepeda’s original case filings dated Jan. 13 presented a tentative agreement of 10 years in prison in exchange for a guilty plea on the charges listed in the first two indictments, containing one count of improper relationship between educator/student and six counts of sexual assault of a child.

According to the document, the range of punishment for each offense, all of which are second degree felonies, is 2-10 years and up to a $10,000 fine.

On Thursday, Cepeda’s attorney asked the court to consider a new motion to request bond submitted on behalf of his client. Cepeda was previously required to wear a GPS-monitoring device on his ankle. This time, the attorney requested house arrest. The judge denied Thursday’s request.

The former teacher’s bond was revoked at a hearing on Jan. 10 after a progress report indicated multiple alleged violations of the previous bond agreement, including out-of-state travel, travel to Mexico to obtain medication, and reports that Cepeda had visited a high school for his child’s football camp without obtaining permission from probation.

The man explained to Leal that his family had to relocate to San Antonio and apologized to the judge for the alleged violations of his previous agreement, which resulted in his re-arrest in early January. “There’s no excuse,” he said.

Leal expressed her concern that Cepeda was looking for loopholes in his previous agreement and argued against bond. The state’s attorney told Leal the state was in agreement, as the previous conditions did not prevent Cepeda from violating the terms.

Cepeda remains in custody without bond.

The case is ongoing. Cepeda is currently listed as a defendant in a lawsuit alleging Title IX violations, filed by an anonymous Santa Rosa High School student’s father against Cepeda, his former colleague Isaac Flores, and Santa Rosa ISD.

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