Aspen-area man arrested for alleged sexual assault on child | AspenTimes.com

Aspen-area man arrested for alleged sexual assault on child

ASPEN – A local man was being held Wednesday on $25,000 bail in the Pitkin County jail on allegations that he sexually assaulted a child last December.

Esau Rodriguez, 22, of Aspen Village was arrested Tuesday and advised later that day in Pitkin County District Court of sexual assault on a child, a class-four felony.

His arrest comes after Pitkin County Sheriff’s Investigator Bruce Benjamin, along with Deputy Jesse Steindler, the Pitkin County Department of Human Services, the River Bridge Child Advocacy Center in Glenwood Springs and a Rifle Police Department detective became aware of the allegations in the summer.

Steindler, during the course of an unrelated vandalism investigation at Aspen Village in July, initially learned about the sexual abuse accusations, but Rodriguez was not considered a suspect at the time.

But in August, an anonymous caller left a message at the county’s human services department that Rodriguez was in a a “sexual relationship” with a minor, according to an affidavit prepared by Benjamin.

Benjamin then facilitated interviews with the alleged victim and other witnesses. The alleged victim told a Rifle detective that Rodriguez in December 2009 touched her in her private areas. After the incident, the alleged victim, her mother and other family members moved to California, the affidavit says.

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On Sept. 10, Benjamin interviewed Rodriguez at the Eagle County jail, where he was being held for an outstanding traffic warrant.

Rodriguez appeared to have confessed to Benjamin, allegedly telling the detective that he had touched the victim in her private area.

“I told Esau that what he did was wrong and asked if he knew what he did was wrong, and he agreed,” Benjamin wrote in the affidavit.

Rodriguez also told Benjamin that he has had family problems in the past.

“I explained to Esau Rodriguez that I had known him and his family for a very long time and was aware of many of the problems in the household over the years,” Benjamin wrote. “I further explained that it was now time to come clean and tell me about some events that had occurred. Esau explained to me that his father, over the years, had accused him of being an instrument of the devil or witchcraft, and Esau also explained that he was the victim of some neglect and abuse as he was growing up.”

rcarroll@aspentimes.com