2 May 2011

California children's minister with history of sex crimes to stand trial for molesting his foster children and neighbor's girls

KFSN-TV          Fresno, California        April 29, 2011

Madera County minister accused of molestation in court

by Sara Sandrik

MADERA COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- A Madera County children's minister who has been a foster parent for more than 15 years will go to trial on child molestation charges.

Cameras were not allowed inside the courtroom for Friday's hearing. But behind these doors, two Madera County deputies delivered gut wrenching testimony about five girls who have all accused Alberto Rodriguez of sexual abuse.

According to authorities, the victims in this case say the abuse happened when they were as young as nine years old. Three of them were foster children in Rodriguez's Madera County home. Two of them were neighbors who often visited the house. One of the girls told investigators Rodriguez first touched her inappropriately inside the Valley West Christian Center where he worked as a children's minister.

In each of the cases, the girls described trusting Rodriguez like a father and being assaulted while doing innocent things like watching cartoons or playing video games.

Michael Keitz said, "Whenever you see someone, especially in a trusted position in a case such as this and you've got victims who come forward and allege conduct of one sort or another that's inappropriate you know your heart just goes out to these people."

The defense attorney in the case did not want to speak on camera, but he told Action News his client is not guilty. However, the judge ruled there is enough evidence to send Rodriguez to trial. Prosecutors say they plan to request consolidating this case with that of a sixth alleged victim.

The judge also nearly doubled the bail for Rodriguez to one million dollars. He's scheduled to be back in court in two weeks.

This article was found at:


KFSN-TV          Fresno, California        October 19, 2010

Despite sex crimes Madera man licensed for child care

by Sontaya Rose

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- A North Valley children's minister who has been a foster parent for more than 15-years was able to get a license to care for children despite a conviction for a sex crime.

48-year-old Alberto Rodriguez was arrested earlier this month after Madera County Sheriff's investigators say he molested children in his care.

60 kids have been through the Rodriguez home, since he became a foster parent. The foster agency that he accepted children from says they knew about his past, but petitioned to get him certified anyway. Until a few weeks ago, Rodriguez was up to date and licensed as a foster parent who met the requirements.

Court records obtained by Action News show Alberto Rodriguez was charged in four separate incidents, dating back to the early 1980's. They involved various women who claimed he tried to have sexual contact with them against their will. Rodriguez spent two years in state prison after agreeing to a plea deal for the felony crime of first degree burglary with the intent to commit sexual battery. We asked state licensing officials how someone with a criminal background could pass a background check.

Rodriguez worked through the foster care agency, Valley Teen Ranch. The CEO declined an on camera interview. She told Action News quote: "I'm very aware of the situation. I am cooperating with everyone. It's awful."

Rodriguez and his wife live in Madera County. According to Valley Teen Ranch officials, he went through the process to become a foster parent in 1994 and was granted an exemption after writing a letter and submitting letters from others noting his upstanding character. State officials say it is possible to have a criminal past and still receive a license to legally take in foster children.

Rodriguez also worked as a children's minister at Valley West Christian Center in Madera. Church leaders say he also passed a department of justice background check they conducted. Once church staff heard about the allegation, Rodriguez was removed from his pastor position.

Rodriguez was licensed along with his wife. She has not been charged with any crimes. Church leaders say she was unaware of any alleged abuse. Alberto Rodriguez is charged with several counts of lewd acts with a child.

This article was found at:


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  1. It is outrageous that Alberto Rodriguez was ever allowed to work with children after serving time in prison for sex related crimes. It should not matter that those crimes did not involve children. A convicted sex offender should never have passed the two child protection screenings done by the state foster parent agency and the justice department background check.

    By the way, as of this posting, Alberto Rodriguez is still listed as the children's minister on the Valley West Christian Center website, including a telephone number and email contact. see:


  2. American Baptist Pastor found guilty of child sex abuse

    By Bob Allen, Associated Baptist Press
    December 09, 2011

    SACRAMENTO, Calif. (ABP) – A California jury deliberated nearly four days before finding an American Baptist pastor guilty on 11 of 12 child molestation charges Dec. 8.

    Tommy Gene Daniels, 49, faces sentencing Jan. 13 for crimes involving five girls ages 5-8 alleged to have occurred between 2003 and 2005. Daniels, arrested a year ago, remains listed as pastor of First Baptist Church in Rio Linda, Calif., a congregation affiliated with Growing Healthy Churches, formerly known as American Baptist Churches of the West.

    All five girls testified that the molestations took place at Daniels’ home in Citrus Heights, Calif. One of the girls had been going to the residence for day care. The other four were foster children placed there by adoptive parents who found them too difficult to handle.

    Daniels’ wife, Brenda, testified that all five of the girls had a propensity to lie. She said she distrusted them so much that when one told her she was being sexually abused she didn’t bother to report it to the police. She said if she had believed her husband was capable of child abuse she likely would have left him.

    In the end the Sacramento Superior Court jury had to decide whether to believe the word of a preacher or that five girls -- two of them sisters -- colluded to falsely accuse him.

    According to reports of the trial by the Sacramento Bee, an expert witness testified for the prosecution that rate of false accusations of sexual abuse reported to law enforcement stands somewhere between 1 percent and 6 percent.
    Deputy District Attorney Kimberly Macy said in her closing argument that Daniels targeted the girls because he knew no one would believe their word against his.

    Daniels' lawyer, Michael Chastaine, said he was "incredibly disappointed" by the verdict and intends to appeal the decision.

    Daniels faces 15 years to life in prison on each count, meaning he is looking at a sentence of 165 years to life.


  3. Judge sentences pastor to 158 years to life in molestation case

    The Sacramento Bee March 2, 2012

    Rio Linda Baptist Church Pastor Tommy Gene Daniels was sentenced to 158 years to life in prison today for molesting five little girls in a respite and child-care operation his family ran out of his Citrus Heights home.

    In handing down the term to the 49-year-old Daniels, Sacramento Superior Court Judge Trena H. Burger-Plavan told the pastor he "took advantage of his position of trust and confidence with very young victims."

    Daniels, exhibiting facial grimaces throughout the sentencing hearing, made no comment. He has continued to maintain his innocence. His attorney, Michael L. Chastaine, filed a motion for a new trial that the judge rejected. Chastaine said afterwards he intends to appeal the Dec. 8 verdict handed down by the Sacramento jury.

    The five victims in the case were between the ages of 5 and 13 when Daniels touched them inappropriately while they were in his family's care in his Wapiti Place residence. The molestations took place in his house between December 2002 and August 2007.

    One of Daniels' victims, who is now 12, began to read her victim's impact statement in the courtroom. She said the molestation "changed me forever." When the girl began to cry, her mother finished the statement where the young victim said she is "terrified of the dark" and has a recurring vision of a "blurred face with a creepy smile" where Daniels' "points at me as if to say, 'I'm coming for you.'"

    "I've tried to forget what happened, but I have not been able to and probably will never be able to," the girl's statement said.