MCSO arrests man accused of sexual assault, child molestation
PHOENIX — A man was arrested in Maricopa County on nearly a dozen charges alleging sexual assault and conduct with minors, authorities said Wednesday.
Jess Rodriguez, 30, faces 11 counts ranging from sexual assault, sexual conduct with a minor and the molestation of a child, the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office said in a press release.
An investigation into Rodriguez began in July 2022 after a victim to an unrelated crime informed authorities of an unreported allegation of sexual assault that happened two years prior, the release said.
The MCSO Special Victims Unit then partnered with agencies in the Valley, including the Glendale Police Department SVU, the Phoenix Police Department Crimes Against Children Unit and the Peoria Police Department SVU, to collect more evidence against the suspect before his arrest on Saturday.
The multijurisdictional investigation alleges Rodriguez sexually assaulted at least 3 victims: a 15-year-old, a 19-year-old, and a victim who’d been habitually assaulted between the ages of 9 and 11.
“From what we now right now the suspect, this child predator, reached out through social media applications and began to meet with these people and befriend these people, which is a common tactic used by sexual predators nowadays with social media,” Sgt. Joaquin Rodriguez told KTAR News 92.3 FM on Wednesday.
“He was able to get into communication with these minor victims and then obviously, sexually assault them.”
Rodriguez was also allegedly connected to the crimes by way of emails, social media profiles and usernames through several NCMEC Cyber Tips.
“Crimes against children remain a top priority for the sheriff’s office,” Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone said.
“This shows exceptional work by multijurisdictional agencies to get a child predator off our streets.”
An investigation into Rodriguez remains ongoing as detectives work to identify any unknown victims.
Anyone with information regarding Rodriguez is asked to call the MCSO SILO Unit at 602-867-8477 with a notation of “IR22-017556.”
KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Patricia Valencia contributed to this report.