Bus Driver Admits To Raping Student, Walks Free
A 35-year-old former school bus driver won’t serve time in jail after pleading guilty to raping a 15-year-old student in Hamilton County, Tenn. On Thursday, Judge Barry Steelman accepted Alexander Rodriquez’s plea deal for aggravated statutory rape, which included a four-year suspended sentence, though he questioned why prosecutors didn’t want to put the man behind bars. “We did point out that [Rodriquez] had already served 100 days,” his defense lawyer tells the Chattanooga Times Free Press, adding there were “credibility issues” with the victim. Rodriquez will now be placed on supervised sex offender probation for 10 years and must wear a GPS monitor. But the victim’s father—who’s suing Rodriquez and the Hamilton County Board of Education for $10 million, per the Free Press—says it’s not enough.
“We were immediately turned off by the fact that there was no jail time,” he says. “I’m disappointed that somebody that commits a crime sexually, especially against a child, gets treated like a DUI [offender],” he adds. “For me and my family, this has been an absolutely heartbreaking experience.” The victim told authorities that Rodriquez drove her from Sale Creek High School to a bus loading station last March, then took her to a Super 8, where he forced her to perform oral sex and raped her, saying, “I’m trying to make it hurt,” per theChattanoogan. After authorities called Rodriquez looking for the girl, she said he dropped her off an hour’s walk from her house and told her to tell her parents she had been with a friend. He was later arrested, paid a $15,000 bond, and was released.