Augusta man charged with molesting young teen over two-year period

By: Lynnsey Gardner Email
By: Lynnsey Gardner Email

February 27, 2007

AUGUSTA, Ga.---An Augusta man has been arrested and charged with molesting a 14-year-old girl over the past two years. He could face up to 70 felony counts of child molestation.

42-year-old Arnie Rodriguez is in jail charged with four felonies stemming from a relationship investigators say he had with his ex-girlfriend's daughter.

Investigators say they have some strong evidence--Rodriguez actually photographed their relations.

Now they hope those photos will help keep him behind bars for a long time.

"There were several sex acts going on between the two, and those were documented in the photographs that were taken," said Inv. Bonnie Kalbskopf of the Richmond County Sheriff's Office.

Now those photos will be used as evidence against him.

Investigators say Rodriguez first met the girl when he began dating her mother, and the assaults started when the victim and her mother lived in his home.

"I think he made her feel good about herself, and her being a young child seeking approval from this adult, did what she wanted to do to make him accept her even more or believe he would accept her even more," Inv. Kalbskopf said.

Inv. Kalbskopf says the relationship continued for almost two years until the girl finally broke her silence.

"I just think she came to a point in her life where she just realized that it wasn't right and what was absolutely the wrong thing that took place between them."

For now the girl is believed to be the only victim.

Rodriguez worked as the manager at the Ridge Crossing apartment complex for quite some time, and for people living there, the allegations are alarming.

"That's really unsettling, because there are a lot of middle school and high school girls here," said tenant Natalie Castille. "There's also young kids here as well. It makes me nervous."

People back in his neighborhood say they will keep a closer eye on their little ones, since a man they thought they knew is accused of crimes against a child.

"Every time you'd see him he'd blow the horn and speak, but you never know what goes on behind closed doors," said neighbor Lamar Mays.

Investigators say they also found two pounds of marijuana in his home.

He is charged with possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, aggravated child molestation and creating and possessing child pornography. All four are felonies.

The DA might use those pictures to file more charges. Each picture taken could lead to two indictments: one count of creating child pornography and then another count of possessing child pornography. In the end, he could face up to 70 felony counts.

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