By Haroutun Bejanyan
The prosecution called up two more witnesses on the second day of evidence in the trial of Job Rodarte, the man who faces several counts of allegedly sexually assaulting his own biological daughter.
The first witness was an officer who interviewed Rodarte on December 19, 2014, shortly after he was taken into custody. After establishing his credibility, the prosecution played the officer’s interview tape of Job Rodarte.
In the beginning of the video, the officer informed Rodarte that his daughter, identified as “M”, had told authorities that her father, Rodarte, had intentionally inappropriately touched her breasts, buttocks, and vagina. He immediately denied these accusations and proceeded to counter with an alternate explanation for the alleged acts.
Each and every time the interviewing officer laid out an accusation made by M, Rodarte would claim that it was merely an accidental situation that was misconstrued by his daughter as a sexual act.
Sitting in that enclosed room, face to face with the officer, Rodarte’s mannerisms indicated he felt cornered and confronted by the consequent reality of his alleged heinous actions.
However, down to only two cards to play, that of confession or denial, Rodarte chose the latter time after time. According to Rodarte, his daughter had misunderstood and confused his intentions, in each one of her accusations, to be falsely deliberate and sexual in nature.
In response to the accusation of grabbing her breasts, he insisted that it had accidentally happened more than once when he playfully hugged his daughter from behind. In response regarding touching her buttocks, he insisted that he simply slapped her bottom in a playful manner as any other parent would. In response about touching her vagina, he once again insisted it was an accidental and unintended occurrence while rough housing with his child.
The officer was dissatisfied with Rodarte’s incomplete story, mentioning that there were clearly things that Rodarte was leaving out. It was then revealed to Rodarte that, when his daughter called him on the phone, the officer was sitting right next to her, listening in on the whole conversation.
Two aspects, that stood out to the officer in the pretext phone conversation, were Rodarte’s reluctance to speak over the phone, suspecting he may be recorded, and his harsh language towards his daughter, calling her “stupid” and telling her to “shut the f*** up.”
Warning that he could see right through the gaps of Rodarte’s insidious ploy, the officer exclaimed in the video, “You wrecked her! You ruined your daughter! She is afraid of you!”
Finally, somewhat concedingly, Rodarte admitted that he had crossed the line during interactions with his daughter, although to his knowledge, not intentionally. Probing further, the officer found a weak spot to exploit, “You’re a religious man. What do you think God’s gonna say when you answer to him?”
Rodarte seemingly hung his head in shame and somberly muttered under his breath, “He’s gonna say I’m stupid.”
Sensing a moment of exposure, the officer fired off rapidly, “She said from the time she was five to 12, you grabbed her inappropriately. She also said you took her virginity. Didn’t you say don’t tell the police, you’ll get in trouble?”
Caught off guard, Rodarte stuttered incoherently, but did not reveal anything incriminating. He perpetuated his pattern of denial, rejecting each of the claims stacked against him.
The second witness was a social worker from child protective services, who interviewed M on December 23, 2014. The prosecution played the video of the social worker’s interview with M. M recounted her early childhood from the time she was living with her biological mom in Mexico to moving to the U.S. with her father, Job Rodarte.
Remembering when she was about four years old, M revealed that her mom would use drugs regularly and physically abuse her. The mom would bite M and burn her with cigarettes. Often, her mom would lock M in a room and then invite friends to throw parties at the house, drinking and using drugs.
When M found out that Rodarte was her real father from a DNA test, she would later call and tell him about her mom’s abuse of her. Once Rodarte found out, he conjured up a plan to take M away from her destructive mother and bring her to the U.S. with him.
He ended up marrying M’s mother and persuading her to allow him to take M on a trip to the U.S. and back. Instead, he freed M from her mother and brought her to the U.S. to live with her aunt and grandmother in Davis, CA.
After some time, M relocated to Woodland to live with her stepmom, Rodarte’s former wife. M said she found out Rodarte and her stepmother had divorced each other because she had come upon a video Rodarte made of himself masturbating while repeatedly uttering M’s older stepsister’s name.
During the week M would stay with her stepmom and on the weekends, she would visit her dad, Rodarte. The inappropriate touching by Rodarte first started when M was only five years old.
M would sleep alone in her own room while she stayed at her dad’s, which would lead her to have nightmares of the abuse she endured from her mom in the past, often imagining that the mom was coming after her. She would wake up startled after these nightmares and rush to sleep in her dad’s room next to him.
When she began sleeping next to him in his bed, in order to feel safe and protected near her father, Rodarte betrayed his own daughter and took advantage of her vulnerability.
According to M, Rodarte performed anal sex on her when she was five years old. It happened three different times in that one year, up until she turned six years old. Afterwards, he would always apologize and assure M that it would never happen again. He would also advise her against notifying others, “Don’t tell anybody. Do you want me to go to jail?”
Although she feared sleeping in his room because she did not want to be sexually violated, her attempts at sleeping in her own room failed when she was forced by her nightmares to return to his room again. Sometimes she put a pillow between her and Rodarte to prevent him from touching her. However, it did not always impede his advance.