BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — A former equipment manager at North High School was sentenced Friday to time served after pleading no contest to engaging in a sex act with an underage student in a case where there are multiple other alleged victims, several who told the court about the abuse they suffered.
Edwin Rodriguez, 42, was sentenced to three years in prison following his plea last month to a charge of committing a lewd or lascivious act with a 14 or 15 year old. Rodriguez has been in jail since February of last year, enough time that his prison term — where he would serve 50 percent of his sentence — has already been completed. He will be released.
Rodriguez, who goes by the alias “Fat Man”, must register as a sex offender for life and was ordered not to have contact with any of the victims.
Several people addressed the court, expressing the anger and frustration they feel over the plea agreement, and how Rodriguez upended their lives.
“Because of you and your actions, my high school years are filled with disgust,” said a woman identified as “Jane Doe 7”. “I will never get those years back.”
She said if she were to repeat all the “gross things” Rodriguez said to her it would take all day. The plea deal he received, with all but one of two dozen charges dropped, is not justice, the woman said.
“We did not choose this for us,” she said. “You chose this for us. And you get to go free.”
Another person, “Jane Doe 1”, said she no longer feels safe at school or in public. She said she and the others Rodriguez victimized are forced to deal with his actions for the rest of their lives.
“You have ruined my life since the day you touched me,” she said.
Rodriguez resigned from North High after an investigation in 2018 where a student reported receiving sexually explicit messages from him through social media. A school administrator notified the sheriff’s office, which determined Rodriguez sent inappropriate messages through Snapchat to at least eight juvenile students, and had sexual contact with several of them.
Prosecutor Cole Sherman said the plea deal was made based on the evidence and the investigation by the District Attorney’s office, under the supervision of the state Attorney General’s office. The prosecuting agencies concluded the plea agreement served justice, he said.
Rodriguez’s defense attorney, Kyle. J. Humphrey, told the court he believed the case settled at the upper limit of what his client would have faced had it gone forward. Despite that, Humphrey said, Rodriguez decided to accept the plea offer rather than put anyone through the ordeal of a trial.