CW: Sexual assault:
A certified nursing assistant from Pomona, CA, was given a life sentence for recording himself sexually abusing disabled children at the group home where he worked. Federal authorities the charges on Tuesday. Steve Rodriguez was sentenced in Santa Ana on Friday.
According to federal officials, Rodriguez pled guilty in September to two counts of acquiring possession of a minor for the purposes of producing child pornography, five counts of making child pornography, and one count of enticing a minor to participate in illegal sexual activity.
Rodriguez produced sexually explicit material with four children. Three of the children have severe disabilities. They are residents at a group home where Rodriguez was employed for four years.
The group home is run by Inland Regional Center for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The abuse went on for two years, and his youngest victim was only eight years old.
Unfortunately, disabled people are more likely to experience sexual assault or abuse. Sexual assault occurs seven times more common against intellectually disabled people than against non-disabled people. Abuse and neglect are common in facilities like the group home where Rodriguez worked.
Perhaps one of the most egregious examples of this occurred in January 2019. A nurse at a long-term care facility in Arizona raped and impregnated a woman with intellectual disabilities
Disabled people have the right to live free of abuse. There is no reason for abusing, neglecting, or killing disabled people. Disabled people should have the right to a life free of abuse and neglect. Disabled people are among America’s most vulnerable residents. Those charged with caring for some of them the most vulnerable members of society should never abuse them.
Solis, Nathan. “Caregiver Sentenced to Life in Prison for ‘Unspeakable’ Sexual Abuse of Disabled Children.” Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Times Communications LLC, 18 Jan. 2023, https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2023-01-17/nursing-assistant-life-sentence-sexual-abuse-disabled-children?_amp=true.
Shapiro, Joseph. “The Sexual Assault Epidemic No One Talks About.” NPR, NPR, 8 Jan. 2018, https://www.npr.org/2018/01/08/570224090/the-sexual-assault-epidemic-no-one-talks-about.