JEFFERSON — A jury trial for a 44-year-old Jefferson man accused of third-degree sexual assault is set to begin at 8:30 a.m. Monday.
Miguel Rodriguez was charged with the crime in June of 2017. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.
After more than two years of legal wrangling — this is the sixth time the trial has been on the court docket — a jury finally will hear the case in Jefferson County Circuit Court Judge Bennett Brantmeier’s court.
The trial is scheduled for three days and 13 jurors have been called, with one serving as an alternate.
At a final status conference Oct. 22, defense attorney Donna Jean Kuchler and Assistant District Attorney Brookellen Teuber ironed out the last remaining pre-trial motions, as well as the questions Brantmeier will ask during jury selection.
At that status conference last month, Brantmeier said the case was finally ready.
“I think we’ve uncovered every stone we thought we’d uncover through pre-trial motions prior to trial,” Brantmeier said.
According to the criminal complaint, the female victim was with a friend and they drove to Rodriguez’s residence June 20, 2017.
Rodriguez and the alleged victim, now 23, went to Rodriguez’ bedroom to get nailclippers, the criminal complaint states.
While there, he reportedly closed and locked the door.
He flirted with the woman, who indicated she was not interested due to the age difference.
The complaint states that when Rodriguez asked to kiss her and the woman said yes. He then reportedly began touching her all over her body and she stated, “let’s not do this.”
He continued touching her as she calmly said “no,” and then she froze as he continued, the complaint states.
According to the complaint, the woman repeatedly told him no as he unzipped his pants and got on top of her. After the assault, which allegedly took place around 9 or 10 p.m., the woman left the bedroom and spoke to her other friend, who reportedly did not seem very supportive. When she spoke to Rodriguez, he reportedly invited her to go somewhere so they could “finish.”
The victim and another friend went to Walmart to get a Plan B pill to prevent pregnancy.
Asked by authorities about not reporting the assault on that night, the victim said she did not know what to do.
The next morning, two friends convinced her to report the assault and go to the hospital.
Police took photos of the text message exchanges between the victim and Rodriguez about her telling him he would have to pay for the Plan B pill and his response: “didn’t do anything inside.”
During his contact with police, Rodriguez admitted having sexual contact with the victim, according to the criminal complaint. He also acknowledged her saying “no” approximately two times while he was touching her, so he thought she wanted to have sex.
According to the complaint, Rodriguez told police the victim was not upset after the incident and the two had joked about it, so he did not think it was an issue.