|So Cal Children in Danger Thanks to Early Release of Pedophile Priest Carlos Rodriguez from Norco Prison Last Sunday
By Kay Ebeling
City of Angels
January 22, 2008
Pedophile priest Carlos Rodriguez was released from Norco Prison east of Los Angeles Sunday January 20th, after serving 3 years and 8 months of an 8 year 8 month sentence for child molestation. Rodriguez was released to the Huntington Park parole office jurisdiction and is known to have extended family in nearby City of Commerce.
"I found out Friday and he was released on Sunday," said Rodriguez crime victim Eric Barragan, who lives in Mexico City. "I got the call from California's Victims office. They gave me these 800 numbers that I couldn't call from Mexico, so I called SNAP and they organized this event."
The SNAP press conference took place Tuesday afternoon January 22, and was attended by 3 survivors, a survivor's mom, and 4 news reporters, two with cameras. Across the street an ecology group bussed in more than a hundred protesters and a parking lot full of reporters covered their demonstration. They were protesting plastic bags. They had a six foot tall sculpture made from used plastic bags and signs with pictures of a dead seal, beached and strangled by plastic bags in the ocean. . .
Hundreds of protesters across the street because of seals in the ocean and plastic bags, a handful at the LA "cathedral" to protest the early release from prison of a pedophile priest turned loose once again on LA thanks to the lax tactics and blatant neglect of the catholic archdiocese and the criminal justice system in California.
The SNAP announcement read:
At a sidewalk news conference, clergy sex abuse victims will:
—Blast Gov. Schwarzenegger and state officials for the proposal to let criminals out of jail early,
—Prod them to keep child molesters locked up for their full terms, and,
—Urge Cardinal Roger Mahony to use his considerable resources to warn his flock about a newly-released predator priest and any other clergy who may be released from incarceration.
Joelle Casteix from SNAP said to City of Angels blog:
"The public needs to have information about where Carolos Rodriguez is living, what are the limitations of his parole, if he's wearing a GPS bracelet."
Someone pointed out to me Todd Tamberg, the LA archdiocese PR front man, standing on archdiocese grounds watching us, but a guy in a red jacket kept blocking my view of Tamberg's face. . .
"We want Cardinal Mahony to do whatever is in his power, in his communications, in his radio spots, because all his flock need to be warned about this dangerous man," said crime victim Eric Barragan.
I glanced over and Tamberg was laughing at some joke with Red Jacket, totally out of earshot, totally not caring what we were saying, totally preoccupied with protecting their grounds from we pedophile priest crime victims still seeking justice from the sidewalk outside.
Barragan continued: "We are not asking Cardinal Mahony, but demanding of Cardinal Mahony, that he announce to the communities, specifically the Latino community, and this county and this archdiocese, that this is a very dangerous man who worked with a lot of families, at the Office of Family Life in Santa Barbara.
"Carlos Rodriguez had access to a lot of families, so they all need to be warned that he has been released from prison and that he poses a threat to the community where he was released and where he used to work, which is Los Angeles, Ventura and Santa Barbara County.
"Mahony has to do whatever is in his power in his communications, in his radio spots, that all the flock need to be warned about this dangerous man."
QUESTION FROM NEWS PERSON: How do you feel?
BARRAGAN: I'm very angry and I'm very upset because I was notified only two days before he was being released. And of course the community right now is at a greater risk because of these actions.
COFA: Do you have any idea where he went when he was released?
I understand that he was released from Norco but from what I understand his whole family moved out of the City of Commerce area where he lived. I don't know specifically where he's going to go.
CITY OF ANGELS BLOG
Tracked down Rodriguez' parole officer, at the Huntington Park area office
And will try to contact him by phone in the next day or two.
COFA: He had family in the City of Commerce area before?
BARRAGAN: Yes, that's actually where my family and I met him. I met his family, because they all lived in the City of Commerce. His family owned a home there and so he's got little sisters and of course a lot of extended family.
"I know wherever he is," Barragan said, "I know the tendency he had was to visit a lot of the families he worked, even after he was accused of sexually abusing their children. I found out that he was still visiting a lot of families in Santa Barbara County, Ventura County, and Los Angeles County, even though there was a legal process against him.
CofA: Wasn't he in prison before this, and released in 2003?
Barragan: Yes he was. Exactly, because of some of the victims here from Los Angeles.
Carlos Rodriguez is one of the more prolific pedophiles who preyed in Southern California parishes in the eighties and nineties. Carlos Rodriguez' case is yet another example of the church's mishandling of pedophile priests — with denial and disordered priorities
Rodriguez was ordained and came to St. Vincents Church in LA in the summer of 1986. By July of 1987 Father Rodriguez was in St. Luke Institute for "evaluation and treatment" after a report of "inappropriate conduct with a minor." (see Assignments:
LA Archdiocesan Report Addendum 11.15.05; LA Times Database 4.20.06 )
When Rodriguez was released from St. Luke's and went into after care —
The Catholic Church gave the known pedophile priest a job part time at the Office of Family Life in Santa Barbara. Until 1993 when he left the Vincentian community and "Archdiocese removes and denies request to renew faculties."
Barragan began an impromptu press conference:
My name is Eric Barragan I'm a victim of Carlos Rodriquez who just yesterday was released from Norco Correctional Facility, after serving less than four years and less than 40 percent of his mandatory sentence of eight years and eight months as he was sentenced back in 2004.
And I'm very upset because I'm finding out that the governor, California Governor Schwarzenegger, in order to cut about $400 million dollars from his budget, is releasing a lot of inmates, and one of those happens to be a very dangerous pedophile that actually abused not only myself but my two brothers, and dozens of children here in Los Angeles, Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties.
COFA: He had family in the City of Commerce area before?
Barragan: Yes, that's actually where my family and I met him. Well I met his family, because they all lived in the City of Commerce. From what I understand the family moved out of the area when he was incarcerated, so I don't know where specifically he moved to.
City of Angels Blog found out late this afternoon that Rodriguez was released to a parole officer in Huntington Park area, just blocks from City of Commerce.
Barragan continued: "Wherever he is, I know the tendency he had was to visit a lot of the families he worked with, even after he was accused of sexually abusing their children. I found out that he was still visiting a lot of families in Santa Barbara County, Ventura County, and Los Angeles County, even though there was a legal process against him.
COFA: WASN'T HE IN PRISON BEFORE AND THEN RELEASED?
Barragan: Yes he was. Some of the victims here from Los Angeles actually pressed criminal charges against him and he was incarcerated here in Los Angeles County. Because of the Stogner case in 2003, he was released."
From LA Daily News July 2003
By Michael Gougis
Los Angeles Daily News [California]
Downloaded to bishopaccountability July 1, 2003
"…Authorities freed more people facing decades-old charges of child molestation. . .
"…Victims of abuse by priests expressed their outrage at the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling last week that overturned California's 1994 law retroactively lifting the statute of limitations on sexual abuse cases….
"While prosecutors had used the law in high-profile investigations against priests accused of sex crimes decades ago, the ruling affected far more than clergy. ..
"In Los Angeles, a judge ordered former priest Carlos Rene Rodriguez, 46, who had been in custody for nine months, released on his own recognizance. Rodriguez is charged with eight felony counts stemming from alleged crimes that occurred between 1984 and 1986 when he was a priest assigned to St. Vincent's Church in Los Angeles."
"A month after he was released in LA, there was a warrant out for his arrest," Barragan said. "They couldn't find him he disappeared he was on the lam."
"Luckily on my birthday in 2003 he was caught, incarcerated, and in April of 2004 he was sentenced to eight years eight months in prison."
Barragan said that at that time "the judge ordered he had to serve a mandatory 80 percent sentence
"He wasn't eligible for parole until after 80 percent of his time was served, but now under four years of him being in jail, he's been released."
"Rodriguez was released from Norco Correctional Facility, after serving less than four years and less than 40 percent of his mandatory sentence of eight years and eight months as he was sentenced back in 2004.
COFA: From what you remember, from your experience, do you feel there's other crime victims of Father Carlos Rodriguez out there?
BARRAGAN: Definitely. He had access to a lot of families. He was working predominantly in the Latino Community in all three counties, Los Angeles, Ventura and Santa Barbara counties.
I don't know if I am a reporter or survivor when I go to these SNAP events, since well I am both a reporter and a survivor. SNAP events give me a kind of identity crisis —
This time I beat down any weird feelings by getting there early and going inside the cathedral first. I saw other people going in, it's open during the day.
For years I could not go into a church as it would
double me over in stomach pain.
Even First Baptist Church of Hollywood gave me trouble as the building is the same architecture as a Catholic Church with the high beam ceilings and stained glass windows. I kept jerking to the side thinking I saw a confessional when I was there and finally had to quit going.
Sometimes I miss Mass and I'd like to get past the doubled over stomach pains…
So today I went inside the cathedral and felt nothing.
This building, this structure downtown LA is so barren and empty that there's nothing there evil or good. So it can't make me double over in pain. I went inside and caught the last half of noon time daily Mass.
A smattering of people, a lot of them tourists, walked in and out as the Mass went on.
Up on the altar a guy in red tunic with very wide sleeves waved his arms around.
They have this bizarre crucifix on the altar of the LA cathedral. Jesus hangs there, all black and moderne, his body skewed in and twisted in such anguish
he could be doing a Bob Fosse dance.
The music at noon time Mass was okay, the soprano was off key, the art is great to look at.
I'd like to have the run of the place some day and at one point felt like I might sometime in the future. . .
Came back outside and the SNAP press conference was just beginning:
I opened up an office of SNAP in Mexico City.
What? Tell me more.
He told me so much that it will have to wait until:
More about SNAP Mexico City next post.
Also coming soon, the story of Kathy Shaw and Abuse Tracker
PLUS WE WILL HAVE OUR OWN VIDEOS PRODUCED BY CITY OF ANGELS PRODUCTIONS IN FEBRUARY 2008
Original City of Angels Videos running on the blog next month!
Onward. . .
Related stories at bishop accountability dot org under R for Rodriguez, etcetera
Any original material on these pages is copyright © BishopAccountability.org 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.