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Public Safety News
Galveston County District Attorney's Office
News Release
Friday, October 27, 2017

Retired Houston Officer Sentenced to Three Consecutive Life Terms in Prison
for Sexual Assault

GALVESTON – Today, the 212th District Court sentenced retired Houston Police Department Officer Abel Diaz Rodriguez to three consecutive life sentences for sexually assaulting a minor multiple times.

Rodriguez was indicted for three first-degree offenses of sexual assault of a child, each carrying a punishment range of 5 to 99 years, or life.

On July 23, 2017, Rodriguez’s jury trial began for his criminal charges arising from the sexual assaults, which took place during the Fall of 2014. Prosecutors Gina Gilmore and Rebekah Saunders presented evidence and testimony in the week-long trial of Rodriguez. Witnesses included the victim, who was 14 years old at the time of the offense, Detective Mel Villarreal of Texas City Police Department, the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner, family members of the victim, a CPS caseworker, and the victim’s therapist. The jury also learned in trial that Rodriguez was alleged to have previously sexually assaulted another minor, who also provided testimony in Rodriguez’s present case.

The evidence at trial showed that in October 2015, the victim and her sisters arrived at the Texas City Police Department to report the crimes. The minor victim explained to officers the sexual and physical abuse she experienced from Rodriguez. Rodriguez had given the victim an ultimatum, forcing her to choose between physical abuse or engaging in sexual acts with him. The victim was forced to sign a “contract” that she was agreeing to the sexual encounters. It was also learned that Rodriguez had secretly recorded a sexual act and showed the victim on his computer. The victim explained the fear she felt in reporting the incidents because of Rodriguez’s previous position in law enforcement and threats he had made in the past.

The jury found Rodriguez guilty in all three cases. The punishment phase immediately followed the guilty verdict. The victim and her family testified again, focusing on the life sentences they carry from Rodriguez’s physical and sexual abuse. At the conclusion of testimony ADA Saunders asked the jury to also give Rodriguez a life sentence, just as the ones involved had received. After twenty minutes of deliberation the jury rendered a punishment verdict of life in all three cases. At the request of felony chief prosecutor Gilmore, the Court stacked the sentences, ruling that the three life sentences must run consecutively.

Rodriguez was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorneys Gina Gilmore and Rebekah Saunders in the 212th District Court, with Judge Patricia Grady presiding. The criminal investigation was conducted by the Texas City Police Department with Detective Mel Villarreal as the lead detective.

Remembering Jim Guidry

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