Issue:  Vol. 48 / No. 11 / 15 March 2018

Redwood City man accused of orally copulating teen boy

Gustabo Rodriguez (Photo: San Mateo County Sheriff's office)

Gustabo Rodriguez (Photo: San Mateo County Sheriff’s office)

A Redwood City man accused of orally copulating a teenage boy was set to appear in court Friday (September 30) for a pretrial conference.

Gustabo Rodriguez, 22, of Redwood City, was working at Sequoia High School as a part-time teacher’s aid when he initiated a relationship with the victim, a 15-year-old student at the school, San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said in a summary.

On four occasions, Wagstaffe said, Rodriguez orally copulated the boy in Rodriguez’s bedroom.

“The defendant also videotaped himself shaving the victim’s pubic hair and did this without the victim’s knowledge or consent,” Wagstaffe said.

Rodriguez knew the boy was only 15, the DA said.

Someone anonymously emailed the video to the school’s vice principal, who on July 29 notified Redwood City police. After an investigation, police arrested Rodriguez, who’s being held in Redwood City’s Maquire Correctional Facility on $300,000 bail.

The case summary says his arraignment was September 15. He’s charged with four felony counts of oral copulation of someone under 16.

The person “who sent the video to the vice principal remains unknown,” according to Wagstaffe.

In an email to the Bay Area Reporter, Steve Chase, Rodriguez’s attorney, said he couldn’t discuss details of the case, but it’s “very likely” there will be a plea bargain. Wagstaffe said that prosecutors plan to revoke their offer if it’s not taken by October 20, but he didn’t say what the offer was.

“The young man who is the complaining witness in this case was like a younger brother to Gustabo, and the boy’s mother, like a mother to Gustabo as well,” Chase said. “This case demonstrates how our justice system’s approach to punishment in ‘sex’ cases is Draconian and not tailored to deal with individuals.”

Chase called Rodriguez “a delightful young man.”

“He is intelligent and caring, and has been very cooperative with law enforcement in this case,” he said. “There isn’t even a touch of evil in his soul.”

As the result of the likely plea bargain, Rodriguez would probably “spend a short term in prison,” Chase said.

However, he’s hoping Rodriguez won’t be sentenced to prison “as Gustabo is small in stature, and could be subject to abuse by the bigger inmates.  He doesn’t deserve that.  He also shouldn’t, in my opinion, be sent to prison.”

The case is set for jury trial October 31.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, September 30, 2016 @ 3:57 pm PST
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