Hodges man convicted in molestation of 5-year-old
Saturday, April 19, 2014 12:13 AM
A Hodges man was convicted this week of molesting an underage girl and sentenced to prison.
Rodney Lee Rodgers Sr., 44, of 7001 U.S. Highway 25N., stood trial this week at the Greenwood County Courthouse amid allegations he inappropriately touched a Greenwood County minor, who was 5 years old when the reports originally surfaced in January 2009.
Jurors listened to a day and a half of testimony and deliberated overnight Wednesday, returning a guilty verdict Thursday morning. Rodgers stood accused of first-degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor under 11 years of age, a charge punishable by 25 years to life in prison. The jury, however, found him guilty of committing lewd act upon a minor, a lesser-included offense with a maximum 15-year sentence.
Judge Thomas Hughston Jr., who presided over this week’s proceedings, followed up the guilty verdict by issuing a 15-year split sentence, remanding Rodgers to prison for 10 years followed by five years of probation. He will be placed on a central registry for child abuse and neglect, court records showed. Prosecutors said he is also required to register as a sex offender and will be subject to lifetime GPS monitoring.
Eighth Circuit Senior Assistant Solicitor Lance Sheek prosecuted thew case, asking the judge to hand down the maximum sentence for the lewd act charge. Afterward, he indicated he was pleased with the conviction.
“The Solicitor (David Stumbo) has made it a priority to get predators off our streets,” Sheek said. “And I’m very proud to be part of his team.”
Greenwood County investigators arrested Rodgers in April 2009, three months after the victim’s family reported the allegations to deputies. He spent 560 days behind bars awaiting trial before bonding out in November 2010.
According to a Greenwood County incident report, the victim’s grandfather grew suspicious when the child began trying to engage in sexually suggestive behavior with family members. The grandfather told deputies the behavior started just after Christmas 2008. When he asked the victim who was teaching her the inappropriate behaviors, she told him it was the suspect, who was a live-in boyfriend of one of the child’s family members. The child said Rodgers molested her, and the grandfather told officers it likely occurred during the preceding summer when the young girl visited the home where Rodgers lived.