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— A former assistant dean at the Ozark Adventist Academy in Gentry was placed on five years’ state-supervised probation after admitting to having sexual contact with a female student.

Edwin Constantino Rodriguez, 22, of Amarillo, Texas, pleaded guilty Monday to sexual assault in the second degree, a class B felony. He pleaded guilty under a plea agreement his attorney reached with Chief Deputy Prosecutor Stuart Cearley.

Rodriguez was the assistant dean of boys at Ozark Adventist Academy, a private school in Gentry.

He admitted Monday to having sexual contact with the girl. Rodriguez was arrested on April 1 of this year.

The 16-year-old girl claimed that last year Rodriguez checked her out of the girls’ dorm to go to Wal-Mart in Siloam Springs.

The two ended up having sex in the car before returning to the school, according to an affidavit of probable cause. At the time of his arrest, Rodriguez denied the allegations. Cearley told Circuit Judge Robin Green the victim and her family had moved away and quit returning telephone calls from the prosecutor’s office.

When he spoke last with the girl’s father, Cearley said the father was in favor of the plea agreement, which would bring an end to the case. Green accepted the plea agreement and Rodriguez’s guilty plea.

Rodriguez was placed on probation for five years and sentenced to 102 days in the Benton County Jail. Rodriguez, now a college student in Texas, will be allowed to finished the semester before he serves his jail time. He must report to the county jail by 5 p.m. Dec. 21.

He will be required to register as a sex offender, and he must enroll and complete the sex offender treatment program at Ozark Guidance or a similar program.

Rodriguez was ordered not to have any contact with the victim. He also cannot have unsupervised contact with any minor females. He also must pay $1,950 in court-associated costs.

Rodriguez is the second Ozark Adventist Academy employee to be arrested and accused of having sex with a student.

Former teacher Thomas Hayden Mc-Donald is charged with sexual assault in the second degree, a class B felony. He was arrested Dec. 4, 2008.

McDonald’s jury trial is scheduled for Sept. 10.

News, Pages 1 on 10/07/2009

Print Headline: Former OAA school employee gets probation and time in jail

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