By Arek Sarkissian II
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Tuesday April 15, 2003
The Tucson man convicted of sexually assaulting a UA student while she showered was formally connected to a similar incident he was charged with more than five years ago.
Esteban Rodriguez, 25, the man convicted of sexually assaulting a Manzanita-Mohave resident, not allowing other girls to leave residence hall showers and nearly running a University of Arizona Police officer over was linked yesterday, by fingerprints, to a November 1998 incident that Deputy County Attorney Brad Roach said was similar in nature.
"TPD knew about this and when it started happening again, they called UAPD," Roach said.
Roach didn't specify whether the similar incident was also a sexual assault.
Details of the case were not available from the court records department because Judge Howard Hantman had already checked them out.
However, Rodriguez was also named in a November 2000 indictment that charged him and three others with, among other charges, aggravated assault and burglary. Those were dropped in 2001 by the Pima County Attorney's office.
Yesterday's hearing, which was supposed to give Rodriguez a chance to mitigate his sentence, was continued because defense attorney John O'Brien wanted more time for his client to be interviewed by a psychiatrist. The interview could prove whether Rodriguez's mental state at the time of the 2002 incident could warrant a lesser sentence.
O'Brien declined comment.
While Rodriguez could face seven to 21 years in prison for the sexual assault, he could also face additional time for the criminal trespassing, burglary, and aggravated assault charges he was already convicted of.
For Rodriguez's sister, Susan, 22, her brother's case has severed all contact with his family. Both she and the family can only wait.
"That's all we can do, waiting to see what's going to happen," she said.
Before being escorted out of the courtroom, Rodriguez lifted up his cuffed hands to wave to his family.
During the hearing, Hantman said the case would be continued in four weeks but he scheduled a status conference with O'Brien for later this week.