A 70 year-old man from Atlantic County allegedly paid a 12-year-old girl $10 not to report him to police after he sexually assaulted her, authorities said.
Jose A. Rodriguez of Egg Harbor City already was a registered sex offender when he was convicted of the new crime, according to Atlantic County Prosecutor Damon G. Tyner.
A jury found Rodriguez guilty last week during a trial before Presiding Judge Bernard Delury, Jr. He was convicted of two counts of sexual assault and endangering the welfare of a child, Tyner said.
Rodriguez was found guilty of sexually assaulting the girl on Aug. 20, 2019. and then giving her $10 while telling her “not to tell anyone about what happened in his house because he didn’t want to get in trouble with the police," Tyner said in a press statement.
The victim told her mother what the defendant had done and the family contacted police, Tyner said.
went to the police to report it.
“I want to applaud the courage of this strong young lady to first, tell her parents about the assault, and then face her abuser in open court and testify," Tyner said. "I am hopeful that this defendant will never have the opportunity to abuse anyone ever again.”
Rodriguez also was found guilty of one count of violation of community supervision for life. Under Megan’s Law for a prior offense, Rodriguez was not allowed to be alone with a child, Tyner said.
Rodriguez previously pleaded guilty to aggravated criminal sexual contact with a minor on June 11, 2004, according to Tyner.
Assistant Prosecutor Erika Halayko is handling the case. Rodriguez is due to be sentenced on Feb. 26, 2021.
“The victim was very brave in coming forward to tell someone even though the defendant tried to buy her silence,” Halayko said. “This type of behavior where he tried to bribe her by giving her money and the promise of gifts shows the lengths that this defendant was willing to go to not get caught. However, the jury was able to see that this defendant committed these heinous crimes against a vulnerable child and justice has been served for her and her family.”
Anyone with information involving any serious crimes are urged to call the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office at 609-909-7800 .
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