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  Ex-Priest Sent to Prison for Molestation
4 or 5 Boys Targeted Ever Year, Say Police

By David Kelly
Press Enterprise [Riverside CA]
January 21, 1998

A former priest who police said molested "four or five" boys every year of his 22 years as a clergyman was sentenced to 10 years in prison Tuesday in San Bernardino Superior Court.

Edward Anthony Rodrigue, 61, of Highland, was arrested last April after a woman in his housing complex reported her 11-year-old son had a "hickey" on his neck after Rodrigue had babysat him, according to a probation report prepared for the court.

The boy, who is developmentally disabled and on medication, also said the man fondled his genitals, exposed himself, asked for sex once a week and kissed him. "It is likely if he is not incarcerated he will continue to victimize other boys," the report said.

In response to the charges, Rodrigue is quoted as saying, "I don't know why I touched his genitals. It certainly was not to arouse him. " The document, which is a compilation of police investigations, interviews and a probation officer analysis, said Rodrigue admitted to molesting four or five boys a year while he was a priest.

It could not be learned late Tuesday where he had worked. He originally is from San Diego.

In 1979, Rodrigue pleaded no contest to charges of molesting an Ontario boy and was put on probation. He was also sent to the psychiatric treatment facility in Azusa for 11 months in 1980.

He was finally defrocked in 1992 because of the child molestation charges, according to the report. Howard Lincoln, a spokesman for the Catholic Diocese of San Bernardino, said Tuesday he could not comment because he did not know Rodrigue.

The report said a lengthy prison term was warranted because of Rodrigue's past convictions, the fact that he remains a serious threat to society and because his most recent victim was especially vulnerable due to his disability.

Rodrigue accepted a plea bargain of 10 years and a fine of $ 7,000.

"There is no way I could have gone to trial on this. I would have an emotional breakdown," he said in the report. "I've put everything in God's hands."

 
 

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