Chain | Cohn | Stiles law firm has filed claims on behalf of three students who were victims of sexual misconduct at North High School.
Kern County Sheriff’s Office has arrested Edwin Rodriguez on suspicion of lewd and lascivious acts with minors 14 to 15 years old, exhibiting harmful matter to a minor, annoying a child under 18 and false imprisonment. Local media reported 10 people came forward to investigators alleging inappropriate physical contact and other unwanted interaction by Rodriguez while he worked as an athletic equipment manager at North High School.
Chain | Cohn | Stiles, after speaking with victims and investigators, suspects there could be even more victims. According to the victims, Rodriguez would give students sodas and candy, befriend them on the social media, and send them sexually explicit photos and videos, among other sexual misconduct that took place over several years. One of the women is 19 years old, and the abuse first occurred when she was a sophomore in high school.
In one instance, Rodriguez sent a photo on Snapchat to two of the girls that showed him wearing shorts and a tank top and grabbing his penis. A number of text messages sent by Rodriguez to the girls told them he thought they were “hot” or commented on various parts of their body he found attractive.
Rodriguez “groomed” the victims, Chain | Cohn | Stiles personal injury attorney David Cohn, who is representing the victims and their families, told local media. To see full media coverage of the filing of the complaints and the arrest of Rodriguez, please see the links below.
The mother of one of the victims has also spoken out.
“This sick man manipulated my daughter. She and I are very close, but she felt she was doing something wrong and was afraid to tell me about it,” said the mother of one of the victims in a statement. “My hope through this lawsuit is to prevent this from happening in the future, and to protect our students through better accountability and scrutiny of school officials.”
Added Cohn: “We want to get to the bottom of how this went on for so long.”
“I think all the markers were out there,” Cohn told KGET-17. “It will be interesting to listen to the district’s explanation for why they didn’t do something sooner.”
Chain | Cohn | Stiles attorneys and the parents of the victims advise other parents to talk to their children about boundaries with those authority.
“Take this opportunity to have a discussion with your teenager,” Cohn said. “Students should never have one-on-one conversations through social media or text messages with school personnel, coaches, or other adults in authority. And encourage them to speak up if someone in authority contacts them privately or crosses a line.”
Citing similar cases that have occurred in the past few years, Cohn told local media that a message must be sent to the school district that this type of behavior won’t be tolerated.
“A the end of the day, what really has an impact on the school district is getting hit in their pocketbook,” Cohn said.
CLAIM FILING MEDIA COVERAGE
- Nuevas alegaciones de conducta sexual inapropiada contra ex-empleado escolar (Telemundo Valle Central – March 7, 2019)
- More lawsuits filed in connection with North High employee accused of sexual contact with students (The Bakersfield Californian – March 6, 2019)
- Three more North High students sue equipment manager (KBAK-29, CBS – BakerfieldNow – March 6, 2019)
- Claim against North HS alleges school did not do enough to protect students from accused sex abuser (KGET-17, NBC – March 6, 2019)
- Lawsuit Alleges Kern High School District Staff ‘Conspired To Cover Up’ Sexual Assault Allegations (Valley Public Radio – March 8, 2019)
- Kern High School District Knew Staff Member Was Sex Abuser, Lawsuits Allege (Valley Public Radio – April 30, 2019)
CRIMINAL CASE MEDIA COVERAGE
- North High employee suspected of sexual contact with multiple students (The Bakersfield Californian – Feb. 20, 2019) (online version here)
- North High School employee charged with sexual misconduct involving students (KGET-17, NBC – Feb. 20, 2019) (online version here)
- Court docs detail allegations against North High equipment manager involving multiple students (KERO-23, ABC – Feb. 20, 2019)
- North High equipment manager arrested for lewd acts with a minor (KERO-23, ABC – Feb. 20, 2019)
- North High staff member accused of inappropriate sexual behavior, pleads not guilty (KGET-17, NBC – Feb. 21)
- Edwin Rodriguez pleads not guilty to charges of inappropriate contact with minors (The Bakersfield Californian – Feb. 21, 2019)
- North High athletic equipment manager resigns amid sexual misconduct allegations (The Bakersfield Californian – June 13, 2019)
- Preliminary hearing postponed two months for former North High equipment manager accused of engaging in sex acts with minors (KGET-17, NBC – July 16, 2020)
- Former North High athletic equipment manager to appear in court in October (The Bakersfield Californian – July 16, 2020)