MAYS LANDING- A 70-year-old Egg Harbor City man has been convicted of sexual assault and endangering the welfare of a 12-year-old girl, Atlantic County Prosecutor Damon G. Tyner announced.
On Nov. 16, 2020, before Honorable Bernard Delury, Jr. P.J. Cr., an Atlantic County jury found Jose A. Rodriguez guilty of two counts of second-degree sexual assault and third-degree endangering the welfare of a 12-year-old girl when he sexually assaulted her on Aug. 20, 2019. gave her $10.00 and told her “not to tell anyone about what happened in his house because he didn’t want to get in trouble with the police.” The victim reported later that evening to her mother what the defendant had done and the family went to the police to report it.
“Sexual assaults against children are some of the most heinous crimes that we prosecute. As a society, we have an obligation to protect those who are too young or naïve to fend off dangerous predators such as this defendant. I want to applaud the courage of this strong young lady to first, tell her parents about the assault, and then face her abuser in open court and testify. I am hopeful that this defendant will never have the opportunity to abuse anyone ever again,” Atlantic County Prosecutor Damon G. Tyner said.
During a bench trial before Judge Delury on November 19, 2020, Rodriguez was also found guilty of one count of violation of community supervision for life. When Rodriguez sexually assaulted the 12-year-old girl, he was on Megan’s Law and subject to parole conditions. Rodriguez’s contact alone with a child put him in direct violation of his parole conditions. Rodriguez was previously convicted of a prior aggravated criminal sexual contact with a minor when he pled guilty and was sentenced to that conviction on June 11, 2004.
Assistant Prosecutor Erika Halayko represented the State in both trials. Sentencing is scheduled for February 26, 2021.
“The victim was very brave in coming forward to tell someone even though the defendant tried to buy her silence,” said Assistant Prosecutor Erika Halayko. “This type of behavior where he tried to bribe her by giving her money and the promise of gifts shows the lengths that this defendant was willing to go to not get caught. However, the jury was able to see that this defendant committed these heinous crimes against a vulnerable child and justice has been served for her and her family.”
Anyone with information involving any serious crimes are asked to call the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office at 609-909-7800 or go to the Prosecutor’s Office Web site at https://www.acpo.org/tips.html and provide information by filling out the form anonymously on the Submit a Tip page. People can also call Crime Stoppers at 609-652-1234 or 1-800-658-8477 (TIPS) or visit the Crime Stoppers Website at http://www.crimestoppersatlantic.com/. Crime Stoppers offers cash rewards for information leading to the arrest and indictment of those who commit crimes in Atlantic County.