A 30-year-old sheriff’s deputy accused of sexually assaulting two women inmates at an Orange County jail is facing criminal charges, the Orange County District Attorney’s Office said on Wednesday, Jan. 4.
Arcadio Rodriguez faces misdemeanor counts of sexual activity by a detention facility employee with a confined consenting adult, sexual battery for allegedly touching the intimate part of another person and improper possession of a cellphone in a correctional facility, according to a statement by the DA’s Office.
Rodriguez pleaded not guilty to the charges, court records show. If convicted as charged, Rodriguez faces up to 18 months in Orange County jail.
An attorney representing Rodriguez did not immediately respond Wednesday afternoon to a request for comment.
Prosecutors say the deputy established an “inappropriate relationship” with the women at the Theo Lacy jail in Orange, where he was assigned to work. They accused Rodriguez on multiple occasions of touching the women over their jail uniforms, directing them to engage in sexual activity while he watched, and showing them pornographic videos of himself.
Rodriguez, a Stanton resident, joined the Orange County Sheriff’s Department in September 2021. Prosecutors say the suspected sexual assaults of the female inmates are believed to have begun in May 2022.
The department launched an internal investigation that ultimately led to Rodriguez’s arrest after intercepting an unspecified communication that, according to prosecutors, was about “inappropriate sexual behavior between a deputy toward a female inmate.”
Because the allegations of physical contact between Rodriguez and the inmates concerned contact over, rather than below, the jail uniforms, prosecutors were limited by state law to charging Rodriguez with misdemeanors rather than felonies, DA spokeswoman Kimberly Edds said.
“The well-being of people incarcerated in our jails is an incredible responsibility that goes far beyond the simple minimum of physical safety,” Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer said in a statement. “Whether they are awaiting trial or are serving their sentence, inmates are completely dependent on sheriff’s deputies and other jail staff for everything from food and medication to clothing. To have a sworn deputy sheriff betray his oath of office to serve and protect by preying on vulnerable incarcerated individuals for his own sexual gratification is appalling.”
Sheriff’s officials, in an August statement, indicated that Rodriguez had been placed on administrative leave. It wasn’t clear on Wednesday whether Rodriguez is still on administrative leave, resigned or has been formally fired from the department. He remains free on conditional release pending trial, court records show.
Source: Orange County Register