UPDATE: The firm of Chain Cohn Stiles represented four girls in connection with the allegations against Edwin Rodriguez. It said the cases settled for a total of nearly $2 million.
A mediation statement filed in the case said Edwin Rodriguez groomed and abused the girls, using Snapchat to communicate with them because the messages automatically delete, and using other school staff to send girls to him by writing excuses to remove them from class.
BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Another lawsuit has been filed against Kern High School District in connection with a former North High equipment manager convicted of engaging in a sex act with an underage student and alleged to have sexually abused multiple other students.
The latest suit against Edwin Rodriguez was filed Wednesday on behalf of the seventh alleged victim who has come forward. The suit seeks unspecified damages and alleges school officials failed in their duties as mandated reporters to tell authorities the concerns raised by students and parents about Rodriguez.
The district did not respond to an email seeking comment.
Attorney Daniel Rodriguez — no relation to Edwin Rodriguez — said it took six months before officials reported the allegations to authorities, and they only did so after a student threatened to call police if they didn’t.
“They were practicing what I call the ‘ostrich administration,'” Daniel Rodriguez said. “Bury their heads in the sand and pretend they’re deaf, blind and dumb.”
In March 2018, the mother of a student reported to school officials that Edwin Rodriguez kept texting her daughter and bringing Starbucks to her, and she wanted it to stop, the attorney said. School officials said they would take care of it, but nothing was done, he said.
Another girl told school officials Edwin Rodriguez was “creeping out” her and other girls on the cheerleading squad and kept attending their practices, Daniel Rodriguez said. School officials said they would put a stop to it, the attorney said, but that same afternoon Rodriguez returned to the girls’ practice.
Daniel Rodriguez said it’s not up to school officials to determine whether a crime took place. That’s not their job.
What they must do, he said, is immediately report any allegations of sexual abuse to law enforcement. And in the case of Edwin Rodriguez, they dropped the ball, the attorney said.
Edwin Rodriguez was sentenced in December after pleading no contest to a charge of committing a lewd or lascivious act with a 14 or 15 year old. He was sentenced to time served, having been in jail since February 2019, and ordered to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.
Twenty-three other charges were dismissed under the plea agreement.
Edwin Rodriguez resigned from North High in 2018 after 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.