SANTA ANA, Calif. (TCD) -- A 38-year-old nursing assistant who worked for multiple group homes will spend the rest of his life in prison after sexually abusing severely disabled minors for several years.
From January 2016 to May 2020, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California said Steve Rodriguez filmed himself sexually abusing at least four minor victims, three of whom were "severely disabled" patients at a group home facility where he worked. He would reportedly abuse the victims while working as their nighttime caretaker.
According to the Attorney’s Office, one victim included an 8-year-old child. Rodriguez reportedly filmed his "illegal sexual conduct" with the child two years after he started abusing this particular victim.
In September 2022, Rodriguez pleaded guilty to two counts of obtaining custody of a minor for the purposes of producing child pornography, five counts of production of child pornography, and one count of enticement of a minor to engage in criminal sexual activity. On Friday, Jan. 13, he was reportedly sentenced to life in prison by United States District Judge John W. Holcomb, who called Rodriguez’s crimes "unspeakable acts."
Rodriguez is scheduled for a restitution hearing on March 10.
Rodriguez reportedly sent the sexually explicit material to 36-year-old Cyr Dino Banguguilan, of Azusa, and 23-year-old Miguel Bocardo, of Baldwin Park. In November 2022, the Attorney’s Office said Banguguilan and Bocardo were each found guilty of one count of receipt of child pornography and one count of possession of child pornography. They are scheduled to be sentenced on Feb. 24 and face sentences of at least five years and up to 20 years in federal prison.
Eddy Wang, Acting Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations for Los Angeles, said Rodriguez "took advantage of our most vulnerable population."
United States Attorney Martin Estrada added, "His abhorrent abuse of disabled children was intolerable and properly sanctioned by the court. This result underscores our office’s determination to zealously prosecute those who commit these sorts of horrific crimes against children."