Local man charged with sexually contacting a minor

December 30, 2010 • Local News

Mercedes Rodriguez, 54, is facing charges on two counts of criminal sexual contact of a minor. The charges date back to 2004 and [auth] the investigation spans two states. The alleged incidents took place in Roswell. The initial reports, though, were taken in Arizona on Sept. 20, 2010.

The victim was interviewed by the Phoenix Police Department, Detective Normal Campbell. The charges were filed in Chaves County because Rodriguez still resides in the county, said Lt. Britt Snyder, of the Chaves County Sheriff’s Office. According to transcripts of the interview, the victim was between 10 and 11 years old when the abuse began and 15 at the time of the last incident.

“The dates often can be vague when dealing with children. They will often remember it happened during the summer or in the fall,” said Snyder. Now 18, the victim described a series of incidents of inappropriate contact without penetration, which the subject called “playing.”

According to the criminal complaint filed in November, the victim’s testimony was corroborated by her sister who witnessed some of the incidents. The sister said during the inverview that one time when the suspect was “hugging” the victim, “her eyes were pleading for help.”

The sister also stated that the victim reported these incidents not only to her, but also to her mother. When interviewed by officials from the Chaves County Sheriff’s office, Rodriguez denied any wrongdoing. During the interview, he said that he did remember the victim said he had ‘marked her for life,’ but did not know what she meant. He also admitted that his wife had confronted him about molesting the children.

The preliminary hearing originally set for Tuesday, has been rescheduled for Jan. 11 since the defendant had just retained counsel who had not had time to review the charges against his client.

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