St. Croix man pleads guilty to raping teenage girl


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ST. CROIX - A 32-year-old man facing rape and related charges avoided a jury trial this week when he opted to accept a plea agreement offered by prosecutors and pleaded guilty to having sex with a 14-year-old girl two years ago.

As a room full of jurors sat in V.I. Superior Court Judge Harold Willock's courtroom Monday awaiting the beginning of the jury selection process, Javier Rodriguez was inside the judge's chambers with attorneys from the defense and prosecution.

He entered a last-minute guilty plea to a single charge of unlawful sexual contact in exchange for prosecutors dismissing the remaining charges that had been against him.

As a part of the plea bargain agreement, prosecutors agreed to recommend to the court that Rodriguez be sentenced to no more than five years in prison, skirting a sentence that could have sent him to jail for the rest of his life.

Rodriguez, of Estate White Lady was arrested in March 2012 and charged with first-degree aggravated rape; first-degree unlawful sexual contact; and kidnapping for rape.

He initially had maintained his innocence until Monday, when he opted to accept the plea offer. As part of the deal, prosecutors agreed to file a habitual offender documentation against Rodriguez, because he has had previous convictions in the court.

According to the affidavit filed in V.I. Superior Court by V.I. Police Detective Naomi Joseph, the 14-year-old girl told police she was walking to the bus stop on her way to school in October when a man approached in a BMW and started talking to her. She said that because she did not know him, she ignored him and kept walking, according to Joseph.

She said he kept driving as she walked, and she saw one of her friends on the way who greeted Rodriguez, told her that she knew him and asked him to take them to school, Joseph wrote.

The victim said when they got in the car, Rodriguez began driving west on Melvin Evans Highway instead of east toward the school, and he pulled up to his home and said he needed to get something, according to the affidavit.

The girl told police that her friend got out of the car and she followed. When they went in the house, Rodriguez said he would be right back and locked them inside the house, according to the affidavit.

The victim said the girls looked for ways to get out of the house, but there was none, and while they were looking in the bedroom for a way out, Rodriguez came back with another man, Joseph wrote.

The victim said Rodriguez came into the room and pinned her on the bed, and she screamed for her friend and tried to fight him off, but he overpowered her and raped her.

The girl kept the attack a secret until months later, when she told a counselor who assisted her in telling her parents and later the police, according to Joseph.

That was not the first sex assault that Rodriguez was charged with. He was arrested in August 2008, on three counts of second-degree rape in connection with repeatedly raping and impregnating a 13-year-old girl.

At the time, Rodriguez had been going to the girl's home and carrying on a sexual relationship with her while her mother was at work during April, May and June 2008, according to reports filed in Superior Court by Detective Jose Silva.

Silva said police interviewed the girl, who admitted to having sex with Rodriguez.

Rodriguez pleaded guilty to a single count of sexual assault and was sentenced to three years in prison and given credit for the year he had been in jail prior to his sentencing.

He was arrested in the current case about a year after being released from prison.

- Contact reporter Fiona Stokes at 714-9149 or email fstokes@dailynews.vi.

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