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Gainesville man resentenced after pleading to molestation

POSTED: April 16, 2014 12:38 a.m.

After a tumultuous ending more than a year ago, a child molestation case closed on calmer terms Tuesday in Hall County Superior Court.

Wedged between the morning’s pleas, motions and revocations, 21-year-old Gainesville man Jose Alberto Rodriguez Jr. pleaded guilty to one count of child molestation after a judge granted a motion for new trial filed by attorney Dan Summer and consented to by Chief Assistant District Attorney Wanda Vance.

“It’s the first time in my career I’ve done something like this and it’s unusual, but based on all of the facts and circumstances we’re comfortable doing that,” Vance said.

Jose Alberto Rodriguez Jr., 21, then 19, was on trial on charges of molesting a then 14-year-old boy in March 2011.

On Sept. 6, 2012, a Hall County jury acquitted Rodriguez on four aggravated child molestation charges and convicted him on one. Aggravated child molestation carries an automatic 25-year sentence.

The defendant’s father, Jose Alberto Rodriguez Sr., had a strong reaction.

He hit, kicked and scratched deputies as they tried to subdue him, according to a March 2013 indictment charging him with felony obstruction, terroristic threats, inciting a riot and disrupting a lawful proceeding. He threatened to kill jurors, the prosecutor and others, and told his family to “get” the family of the victim.

“Certainly after trial, after outbursts from the family, after the way everybody behaved, the state felt that that (sentence) was appropriate, but rather than litigate and continue to fight on this case, which exposes the state to liability and possible multiple remedies, we’ve agreed to consent on the motion for new trial,” Vance said.

Rodriguez Jr., who entered his guilty plea through an interpreter, was sentenced to nine years in prison and 11 years on house arrest.

“I frankly offered less than this, at different times, if Mr. Rodriguez had just taken responsibility,” Vance said. “Even during the trial, and frankly after the conviction, the state was open to considering that (plea) because we recognized that the statutory penalty is harsh.”

He will be required to register as a sex offender, although Vance said she would accept a condition that the defendant be allowed to interact with his son and possible future biological children.

“The state always felt that this was, on his part, a hate crime,” Vance said. “I’m not so concerned that he is a predatory or has — I’m not so concerned he is a pedophile. As far as I’m concerned he’s done a horrible thing because he’s homophobic.”

Oliver granted Rodriguez Jr. credit for time served since his conviction.

Rodriguez Sr. pleaded guilty in February to the obstruction counts and was sentenced under Georgia’s First Offender statute to 12 months in jail and four years on probation.

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