CA - Alberto Rodriguez, 48, minister/foster dad arrested for sex abuse 20 yrs, 2010

Discussion in 'Crimes-Spotlight on Children' started by Missizzy, Oct 22, 2010.

  1. Missizzy

    Missizzy New Member

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    Another arrest from the "Youth Minister Dept." And not only a youth minister but a foster parent. Rodriguez really set himself up to get close to the children. Are we really to believe the lead pastor that he never touched any of the church kids? What is the likelihood of that? I feel so badly for all the wonderful youth ministers out there who work their bunnies off for the kids. Wouldn't you hate to have to introduce yourself these days by saying, "Nice to meet you. I'm your child's new youth minister."

    http://www.kmph-kfre.com/Global/story.asp?S=13342348

    Madera [CA] Pastor Suspected of Molestation


    "A Madera Children's Pastor is being investigation for molesting children under his care. Madera County Sheriff's Deputies say 48-year-old Alberto Rodriguez is accused of repeatedly abusing several children under the age of 14, over the last 20 years.

    Rodriguez worked at the Valley West Christian Church for nearly 2 years from 2008 to 2010...... the lead pastor at the Church, tells KMPH that all of the sexual abuse allegations have been from within Rodriguez's family, and not from the church's congregation....."

    and

    "...Some of those victims are believed to have been foster children living under the care of Rodriguez. Rodriguez was arrested earlier this month for the abuse, but since that arrest more witnesses have come forward...."


    more at link


    Another article with a few more details:

    http://www.cbs47.tv/content/breakin...olesting-Children/3mLd8faN106Im7gd68LvKw.cspx

    UPDATE: Former Pastor Accused of Molesting Children


    "Church Pastor RL says one of Rodriguez's children came forward in mid-June claiming Rodriguez had sexually abused her. At the time, Rodriguez had been a youth pastor with his wife at Valley West Christian Church in Madera for about two years, RL said. RL says he immediately released Rodriguez of his duties and notified law enforcement about the abuse claims...."

    and

    "....Many of Rodriguez's victims were reportedly under his care through the foster care system...."

    and

    "....Rodriguez has three adopted children and five foster children..."

    more at link
     
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  3. Missizzy

    Missizzy New Member

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    It is true that one can get an exception for some past crimes but usually not felonies. I know that CA strictly precludes anyone from being certified if the crime was against a child. Possibly, Rodriquez's felony was not a "person" crime. I also wonder if there's some backstory to the 10 yrs. he waited to get certified. Maybe he was biding his time. There are some mighty serious questions to answer for the Youth Ranch, IMO. And remember that he's only been certified as a foster parent (at least with the Youth Ranch) since 1995. His crimes are said to stretch back 20 years. It also seems that Pastor RL judged the man "by his deeds". If he'd only known. From a blog post:

    http://poundpuplegacy.org/node/45850

    Madera Pastor and Foster Parent Arrested for Child Molestation has Criminal Record


    "...Newly filed court documents show a criminal background. A felony conviction from 1985. In 1995 the CEO of Valley Teen Ranch Foster Family Agency in Fresno says Rodriguez came here. He's been a foster parent with this agency ever since.

    When we contacted Valley Teen Ranch. The CEO sent this statement:

    "We take very seriously our mission, which is to provide children with safe and healthy homes, and have done so successfully for 23 years."

    and

    "....Valley Teen Ranch and The California Department of Social Services say, to become a foster parent, background checks are done...."

    and

    "....But court documents show a definite criminal conviction in Rodriguez's records. "Certain offenses that you can apply for an exemption and the case will be looked at again and a determination will be made whether or not an exemption will be granted."

    The Valley Teen Ranch CEO told KMPH news- The Department of Justice let Rodriguez through. But what about the church where Rodriguez "ministered to children"?

    Pastor RL says, "Before we hire any type of staff person they have to go through fingerprinting. And we always check references. So he did go through fingerprinting and he passed....."

    more at link
     
  4. Filly

    Filly KICKING AND SHINING

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    Izzy could you please get a "Youth Minister" catagory after our carnival worker catagory?

    In all seriousness what is a "youth minister"? Do they just work with kids and no other Church members?
     
  5. Missizzy

    Missizzy New Member

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    I think youth ministers came just a bit after "our day". The megachurches and "fellowships" all seem to have them. When I visited my parents' church in Texas a few years ago (to say my good-byes to my Dad), I was blown away by how church had changed. I'd gone to that same Baptist Church when I was a young woman. We surely had a youth group but nothing like it is now. The youth minister was a young, tremendously dynamic and energetic man with a wife and baby. He was constantly taking a big group of middle and high school kids to one retreat or another. He helped them put on skits and talent shows and attended to a portion of the service. I admit that I was already sick but the guy's frenzied pace was a bit too much for even my husband. Maybe that's what kids want. A lot of loud music, lots of audio visual stuff. Matching T-shirts. You get the idea.

    I believe that some Bible colleges even have majors in youth leadership. I guess I'm behind the times. I have no doubt that most must be wonderful guys. Has anyone heard of a female? I haven't. But it sure does seem to come up a lot around here.

    We're going to have to do this alphabetically. They'll come right after the Walmart guys. The carnies come right before the Disney workers. Gotta get this straight.
     
  6. Filly

    Filly KICKING AND SHINING

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    ;)Big Lots preceeds Walmart.

    Oh O.K. so Baptist's have youth ministers as well. No, actually Izzy haven't come across a female youth minister reading here. Perhaps that's because women aren't allowed to be minister's in many Church's. I think we have maybe the first female Lutheran minister here? I think.

    Yep, loud music, field trips, talent shows and plays. Did it all at an Episcopal Church with DD. Oh and a city program and a hoi paloi program. Trust you me I didn't like it but I chaparoned and helped out allllllllll the time. Maybe that's when I started disliking kids.:waitasec: However there was no youth minister. A young woman from the Church ran it. She's my friend to this day through that. Hey, someone had to help her keep her sanity. Oddl;y she likes kids still.:rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes:
     
  7. Charlie09

    Charlie09 Former Member

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    I'm 41 and we always had youth pastors...don't get me started on college kids getting their degrees in youth ministry though. I fully believe they should be older with a little life experience behind them, and all youth pastors should be married.

    Some youth ministers are women, but in most mainstream denominations, it's usually a pastor/wife team. and children's ministries are head up by women. (of course there are exceptions, but I'm talking in general.)

    One note - in the early 80's a had a youth pastor who was just vaguely inappropriate with touching. My mom never let me be alone with him, one time when he called me in she came in with me and said I'll be out in the hall. She never let me go on trips where there wasn't a female chaperon either. So many of these things would be avoided with common sense. (although in this case with foster kids, I'm not sure how you avoid that)
     
  8. concentric

    concentric New Member

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    Seems you have some cataloguing of sex offenders to do. Don't forget the Priest and Monk categories, Missizzy. Oh, sorry, this is the thread for Crimes in the News, those probably wouldn't be in the mainstream media.
     
  9. Filly

    Filly KICKING AND SHINING

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    Don't even get her started.:D

    Charlie, thank you for that information. Hey, you have one good mom as well. Very wise.
     
  10. Missizzy

    Missizzy New Member

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    Big Lots precedes the carnies. But Baptists come before Big Lots. Then comes Boy Scouts.

    I didn't mean seeing female youth ministers on the threads, I meant in general. It's interesting that so many men seem drawn to the career. Out on our side of the US, pastors of even the mainstream churches seem to come in both genders. Our local Methodist, Episcopalian, and Congregational ministers are all women. One is openly lesbian.

    Hey, we all know that perps come in all flavors. I just think it's of note that so many churches have male youth ministers. I can't ever forget what we learn in Perp-dom 101--the perps go where the kids are.

    Yeah don't get me started because we'd have to itemize by denomination and that would get complicated. Is that Southern, American, Primitive or Freewill Baptist? Would we just do sub-groups?

    Oh, and concentric, just check our archives. I've made sure to have lots of threads about the Catholics.

    They're right after the carnies and before Disney staff.
     
  11. Missizzy

    Missizzy New Member

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    Heckola, I think heads are gonna roll....as they should!! Felony SEX CRIMES????

    http://abclocal.go.com/kfsn/story?id=7734316&section=news/local


    Despite sex crimes Madera man licensed for child care

    "A North Valley children's minister who has been a foster parent for more than 15-years was able to get a license to care for children despite a conviction for a sex crime.

    "48-year-old Alberto Rodriguez was arrested earlier this month after Madera County Sheriff's investigators say he molested children in his care.

    60 kids have been through the Rodriguez home, since he became a foster parent. The foster agency that he accepted children from says they knew about his past, but petitioned to get him certified anyway. Until a few weeks ago, Rodriguez was up to date and licensed as a foster parent who met the requirements.

    Court records obtained by Action News show Alberto Rodriguez was charged in four separate incidents, dating back to the early 1980's. They involved various women who claimed he tried to have sexual contact with them against their will. Rodriguez spent two years in state prison..."

    and

    "...[he] was granted an exemption after writing a letter and submitting letters from others noting his upstanding character. State officials say it is possible to have a criminal past and still receive a license to legally take in foster children...."

    and

    "...Rodriguez also worked as a children's minister at Valley West Christian Center in Madera. Church leaders say he also passed a department of justice background check they conducted...."

    more at link


    There is so much WRONG here. I'll be back after I check the CA regs. I'm furious. Read the comments under this article. Posters remember other allegations and the agency (this is a private agency, BTW) backed the guy????
     
  12. Missizzy

    Missizzy New Member

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    These are the federal laws pertaining to any criminal background check of a prospective foster or adoptive parent. States can make additional requirements but this is the bare minimum. If this guy did 2 years in state prison on 4 separate incidents of a sex crime, I think the agency screwed up to the nth degree. They have to undergo audits. How did this get past everyone? And why?

    http://www.childwelfare.gov/systemwide/laws_policies/statutes/background.cfm


    "...Under title IV-E [the program which oversees foster care/adoption], approval of the foster or adoptive home may not be granted if either of the following criminal records is found:

    **The applicant has ever been convicted of felony child abuse or neglect; spousal abuse; a crime against children (including child pornography); or a crime involving violence, including rape, sexual assault, or homicide but not including other types of physical assault or battery.

    **The applicant has been convicted of a felony for physical assault, battery, or a drug-related offense within the past 5 years."


    I truly don't understand this. Something is not adding up. Why would a private agency put their name on the line for this guy? Why would this statement appear in an earlier article:

    http://www.kmph.com/Global/story.asp?S=13346535

    "...Deputies say Rodriguez has not been convicted of any sex crimes in the past."

    and then this:

    "....various women who claimed he tried to have sexual contact with them against their will. Rodriguez spent two years in state prison..."



    What's the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?
     
  13. Missizzy

    Missizzy New Member

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    Filly, I snipped this specifically for you. OK, I've got my ears covered.

    From the link above:

    "...."The kids loved him. He's got a strong personality with kids, great character voices, just a fun guy to be around, I believe with all my heart these are just isolated incidents," said LL, an associate pastor...."
     
  14. Missizzy

    Missizzy New Member

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    I'm belaboring this, aren't I? I'm so sorry but I cannot get over this case. This is my field, my area of expertise, my life. I've advocated for families like this (never heard of this agency, though) for two decades. I'm literally floored by the number of unbreakable laws that are being broken. The kids are still there? The foster mother has lived in the home all these years with the molester and is also a custodial parent? She's not being checked out? Who is ultimately responsible for these children? If it's the State of California, someone has left the building as this is NOT the way it is done. Sad to say but the kids are whisked out of any home when there's any serious allegation of sex abuse. Here they believe it reaches back at least 15 years and 60 children have been through that home!! And the foster mom and the children are receiving counseling from the CHURCH? As I said, I'm floored. Can you tell?

    http://www.kmph.com/Global/story.asp?S=13346535


    "...All of the victims were 14 or younger, at the time of the molestation.

    Rodriguez and his wife have been foster parents for the past 15 years at least [they don't even know??]. Recently, as many as 9 kids [more waivers] have been living with them at their home. No children have been removed from the house, and Rodriguez's wife is not under investigation...."

    and

    "...Rodriguez's wife and children are receiving counseling, from their church..."
     
  15. Herding Cats

    Herding Cats New Member

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    My brother is a (volunteer) youth pastor, married with three of his own children. He has a degree in ministry (although what kind, I'm not sure), and leads lots of trips and does the whole coordination of chaperoned events, like rollerskating, movie night, skateboarding, fishing, and so on.

    If I, for one moment, thought he was abusing children, I'd handle it myself before LE got involved. And he knows it. LOL.

    He is an honest, sincere, wonderful guy...works hard, plays hard, and does his best to help bring along kids in his care. He directs the church plays, writes music for them, and so on.

    Not all youth ministers are bad guys (although there sure do seem like lots in the news right now). My brother is not one of the bad guys...(and I know you're not saying all youth ministers are).

    Just thought I'd share that bit of info.

    best-
    Herding Cats
     
  16. Missizzy

    Missizzy New Member

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    Don't mind me, I'm just having a little research frenzy over here. I'm well aware of the fact that many private agencies are licensed to provide foster care under a contract status with the State. I have to say that I haven't dealt with any which have a religious component. The ranch is based on another program:

    "We are a replica of a successful program in Michigan called Teen Ranch, founded by Ray Clendenan in 1964. Teen Ranch and Valley Teen Ranch were birthed out of the Youth Guidance Division of Youth For Christ."


    It looks like Connie Clendenan is still very involved. Her father started the program in Michigan and she's the CEO of Valley Teen Ranch. Here's a link for the Valley Teen Ranch:

    http://www.valleyteenranch.org/

    "Valley Teen Ranch is licensed by the California Department of Social Services as a Residential Treatment Group Home, Therapeutic Foster Family Agency and Adoption Agency. We also operate a Transitional Living Home.

    We care for and provide therapeutic, residential services for vulnerable children and youth from infant to 18 years of age.

    Our motto is "Building Young Lives."

    Mission Statement

    "To assist vulnerable young people and their families in rebuilding their lives through caring relationships and opportunities to grow mentally, physically, socially and spiritually by living in a safe and healthy home"

    A video from Youtube about what must be the Boys' treatment center component:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UrLa-_EQuMo

    [video=youtube;rYNLoqup0cw]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rYNLoqup0cw&feature=related[/video]

    Another program component is the therapeutic foster family agency. My guess is that this is where Rodriguez was employed as a foster parent:

    In addition to the services provided for the young men living at the Ranch, we also help place hundreds of other children into loving stable foster homes through our Foster Family Agency (FFA). The FFA was licensed by the State of California, Department of Social Services in 1991.

    We recruit, train, certify and supervise foster homes for boys and girls, ages 0-17. Children are placed in our homes through court order by the County Social Services and Probation Departments...."

    and

    "...Valley Teen Ranch FFA is in need of quality Christian homes that are willing to open their hearts and homes..."

    more at link


    Here's what's been bothering me. A little detail called the First Amendment, commonly known as separation of church and state. I realize that this blog post is somewhat biased but it does describe how the Michigan Teen Ranch lost the battle against the State of Michigan concerning the fact that the teens had no choice but to follow the spiritual guidelines of the Ranch.

    http://blog.au.org/2007/01/26/big-b...racas-over-‘faith-based’-funding/


    "....After a review of the private programs, the FIA [Michigan's Family Independence Agency] concluded that Teen Ranch had been coercing children to participate in its religious activities, which included prayer before meals, weekly devotional gatherings and church attendance. Officials at Teen Ranch refused to stop pressuring youth to join religious activities, and the Michigan agency severed ties with the group.

    and

    "Both courts noted that the youths were ultimately the responsibility of the state of Michigan and that the youngsters had no independent choice in determining the residential programs where they were placed...."

    more at link


    Bottom line. Michigan was prudent. California dropped the ball. States cannot use federal IV-E funds to place children in faith based programs. The liability for these children rests squarely in the laps of the California children's service agency who contracted with the Valley Youth Ranch. IMO, we've not seen the full impact of these allegations yet. It's just starting to hit the fan. Mark my words.
     
  17. Missizzy

    Missizzy New Member

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    Herding_cats--Bless your brother for his fine work. Of course, there are far more wonderful guys that rotten apples. This goes for any of the other helping professions--doctors, clergy, teachers, coaches, therapists, etc. Do these men and women not fully realize that children can and do grow up and find a voice?

    It does seem like a number of bad guys have infiltrated the field of youth ministry, though. This case actually concerns me far more on the issue of foster care than the youth minister component. As a child advocate who's worked with adoption/foster care issues for 20 plus years, I'm gob-smacked by what I believe to be serious errors by the State of California, as well as the Youth Ranch.

    I love it that your brother knows he's got to watch himself. That's what families are for. My daughters would say the same about their brothers. LOL. I once had an adult daughter say about a younger brother who was acting out, "I don't need to call the police, I know where he sleeps."

    (BTW, I've always loved your moniker. That's exactly what raising 14 children felt like. I love them to pieces but they sure strayed from the trail quite frequently. Still do.)
     
  18. Texas Mist

    Texas Mist Retired WS Staff

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    This one will make your blood boil -- WTH!! At least *five* foster children were molested!! :furious:

    <snip>

    "The kids loved him. He's got a strong personality with kids, great character voices, just a fun guy to be around, I believe with all my heart these are just isolated incidents," said Lance Leach, an associate pastor. (Molesters don't generally act like monsters in front of adults- DUH! :banghead: )

    ......................

    It began with one victim, but during the course of the investigation four more victims were found - all females - all had at some point in their lives been in the foster care system, and had been cared for by Rodriguez.

    All of the victims were 14 or younger, at the time of the molestation.

    Rodriguez and his wife have been foster parents for the past 15 years at least.

    Recently, as many as 9 kids have been living with them at their home.

    No children have been removed from the house, and Rodriguez's wife is not under investigation.


    http://www.kmph.com/Global/story.asp?S=13346535


    =========================

    FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- A North Valley children's minister who has been a foster parent for more than 15-years was able to get a license to care for children despite a conviction for a sex crime.


    48-year-old Alberto Rodriguez was arrested earlier this month after Madera County Sheriff's investigators say he molested children in his care.

    60 kids have been through the Rodriguez home, since he became a foster parent. The foster agency that he accepted children from says they knew about his past, but petitioned to get him certified anyway. Until a few weeks ago, Rodriguez was up to date and licensed as a foster parent who met the requirements.

    Court records obtained by Action News show Alberto Rodriguez was charged in four separate incidents, dating back to the early 1980's. They involved various women who claimed he tried to have sexual contact with them against their will. Rodriguez spent two years in state prison after agreeing to a plea deal for the felony crime of first degree burglary with the intent to commit sexual battery. We asked state licensing officials how someone with a criminal background could pass a background check.

    Rodriguez worked through the foster care agency, Valley Teen Ranch. The CEO declined an on camera interview. She told Action News quote: "I'm very aware of the situation. I am cooperating with everyone. It's awful."

    Rodriguez and his wife live in Madera County. According to Valley Teen Ranch officials, he went through the process to become a foster parent in 1994 and was granted an exemption after writing a letter and submitting letters from others noting his upstanding character. State officials say it is possible to have a criminal past and still receive a license to legally take in foster children.


    more here

    http://abclocal.go.com/kfsn/story?id=7734316&section=news/local
     
  19. Missizzy

    Missizzy New Member

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  20. Texas Mist

    Texas Mist Retired WS Staff

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  21. Missizzy

    Missizzy New Member

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    To say that this case upset me would be a gross understatement. I've checked back frequently and not found many updates. The whole issue of blurring the lines between a church-based treatment center and children in the state system unhinges me. And then there's the issue of the past felony sex crimes and STILL being licensed to do foster care throws me into a tizzy.

    Anyway, finally there's an update:

    http://www.mercurynews.com/news/ci_17965702

    Minister to face trial on child abuse charges

    "A Madera County children's minister will face trial on charges that he molested three of his foster children and two young neighbors...."

    and

    "...a judge has ruled there is sufficient evidence to send Alberto Rodriguez to trial on the charges. Rodriguez appeared in court on Friday. Prosecutors say he repeatedly abused the girls, who were under the age of 14, over a 20-year period. Prosecutors want to combine the case with that of a sixth alleged victim. One of the girls accuses Rodriguez of first touching her inappropriately inside the Valley West Christian Center, where he worked as a children's minister...."

    More at link

    This man is disgusting but the Valley Teen Youth Ranch must bear some responsibility for pursuing an exemption for this man with his known history. Who knows how many victims he's hurt.
     

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