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May 8, 2017

Rape Victim Speaks as Charges Draw Closer for Accused Magistrate

Norman Rodriguez

The sitting Magistrate accused of rape of a Dangriga woman in April can now be named as Norman Rodriguez.  Up until today, News Five had restrained from using his name. As early as April twenty-fourth, an online news outlet, Associated Belize Press, had publicly disclosed the name and stated as a matter of fact that he would be charged. But this morning, Rodriguez appeared in the Belize City Magistrate’s Court, but not as an accused.  He was in his office as he awaits the final directive for his arrest and charge, expected to be sometime this week. Rodriguez avoided speaking to the media waiting this morning on Treasury Lane. As we reported on Friday, the Director of Public Prosecutions has ordered his arrest and for him to be charged with rape. It would be the first such criminal prosecution of a high court official in memory, and the circumstances are delicate enough that all sides are proceeding quite cautiously. Today, News Five’s Isani Cayetano headed south and spoke to the alleged victim.  She provided detailed account of what she claims transpired.

 

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

A twenty-seven-year-old woman, a resident of Dangriga Town, has come forward with a bold allegation that she was raped an ex-boyfriend several weeks ago.  That former partner, it turns out, also happens to be a lower court judge who was called to the bench in October of last year.  The charge against Magistrate Norman Rodriguez is that he coerced a young lady into having sexual intercourse with him inside this apartment near Alejo Beni Park, after inviting her over to discuss a legal matter involving a sibling.  This morning, she recounted that incident in great detail off camera.

 

Voice of: Alleged Rape Victim

“On the eleventh of April, he called me and then he tell me if I could meet he da fi he house fi mek we talk… Then he seh he wahn adjourn the case and then I tell ahn, “Okay then.”  And I tell ahn I noh have money fi come back eena taxi. So he seh noh worry ‘bout that.  So I tell ahn okay.  Then he tell me mek I text ahn when time ah di leff work.  So my boss dehn give me wahn ride outta town, then I gaan da ih house.  But by the time I reach da ih house he mi done reach home already and then when I gaan he open di gate fi me.  He done sih me di come and everything, he open di gate fi me and I gaan een and I sit down eena wahn chair weh ih have deh and then he seh dah only talk soh I sit down eena di chair and then he tell me come ya.  I tell ahn I noh want sex.  He seh come ya, at least do one thing fi me.  Then I tell ahn again, I noh want sex.  And then he tell me, put down my phone, because I have my phone eena my hand.  He tell me, put down my phone.  So I put down my phone slowly and then he grab my hand and then he hold me and he hug me, and when he hug me he try kiss me and I turned my face.  He grab me with ih hand and put back my face to his mouth and I turn back my face and then he hold me and then he ker me eena ih room.  He walk inside eena di room with me and he tek off, because his shirt mi done deh off already and he tek off my pants whichin I mih hold my belt and he tek off my pants and he insert… yeah.”

 

According to the alleged victim, she did not resist entering the premises because she was under the impression that they were only going to talk.

 

Isani Cayetano

“Any part ah this whole incident you tell ahn no when you done walk eena di yaad?  You try push ahn weh or anything like that?”

 

Voice of: Alleged Rape Victim

“No, because he tell me that we di come fi talk, so I neva expect that mi wahn happen.  And you know, he dah wahn magistrate and I neva expect it fi happen.  And afta di incident he still end up di text me and tell me that he dah wahn big man now and he wahn send police atta me and stuff like that he di tell me.  So I mi fraid ah it too.”

 

Isani Cayetano

“Earlier you mentioned a case being adjourned.  Are you at liberty, do you have the freedom to be able to speak on that matter?  What case are you referring to?”

 

Voice of: Alleged Rape Victim

“He mi wahn do my bredda case before that.  Before ih adjourned the case he mi have wahn court case fi my bredda and right before my bredda gaan een he adjourn the case.”

 

Isani Cayetano

“Were you familiar with this individual prior to this incident?  What familiarity or what contact, if any, did you have with this person before this incident?  Did you know him from somewhere?  Were you involved with him in any kind of way?  Can you explain that to us?”

 

Voice of: Alleged Rape Victim

“Yes.  I used to date he like five years ago and he gaan out gaan study and he come back.”

 

Isani Cayetano

“So during the time that he was away, presumably, you moved on with your life and so did he.”

 

Voice of: Alleged Rape Victim

“Yeah, but he tell me before he gaan no matter who I deh with he wahn still come and tek me weh because he wah be big now so ih noh matta who I deh wid.  Dat da what he tell me.”

 

Isani Cayetano

“When this incident happened, immediately afterwards what did you do?”

 

Voice of: Alleged Rape Victim

“I neva do nothing because he always di tell me that he da wahn magistrate and if I mi do anything, I neva know that I have a right, have a right because he big.  He dah wahn, and I mi seh well I cyant do nothing bout it.”

 

Norman Rodriguez

Isani Cayetano

“So you never reported the incident?  Did you tell anyone else about di incident?”

 

Voice of: Alleged Rape Victim

“Right there and then I neva report it.  I neva tell nobody bout it.”

 

Isani Cayetano

“How did you feel as a woman having been taken advantage of in this manner?”

 

Voice of: Alleged Rape Victim

“I feel real bad bout it, real bad.”

 

Isani Cayetano

“I understand that there have been several threats made after this incident.  Would you care to share with us exactly what you’ve been receiving in terms of people threatening your life or your safety?

 

Voice of: Alleged Rape Victim

“Well only he so far, even though I put een di report bout he.  Like last week Sunday I get text message back from wahn number he have, saying that I lied and he noh rape me.”

 

Magistrate Rodriguez was away for the better part of last week.  In his absence, the Director of Public Prosecutions has instructed that he be charged for the sexual assault of the woman.

 

Isani Cayetano

“What do you want to see come out of this?  I know there is a pending court case.  I know this individual is of a certain stature within the judiciary.  What do you want to see happen in the name of justice on your part?”

 

Voice of: Alleged Rape Victim

“Well I wahn something happen because ih might have a next target out deh.”

 

Isani Cayetano

“Now I could imagine that this was a traumatic experience for you, seeing as though you were not aware that this was what this person wanted.  You went to his house innocently to have a conversation and it turned out to be more than that.  How have you been dealing, as an individual, with the emotional aspect and the mental aspect of having been assaulted in this manner?”

 

Voice of: Alleged Rape Victim

“Well so far, I noh have nobody pan my side and most ah di time I always wahn give up but I cyant give up like that because then dehn have younger people out deh who ih might do it to and maybe I can stop it.”

 

Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

 

Rodriguez, while a teacher at Excelsior High School in Belize City in 2003, was accused of unlawful sexual intercourse with a fourteen year old minor but was acquitted of the charges in 2005 at the Supreme Court. He subsequently decided on a career in law and was appointed a Magistrate only last October, within days of being called to the Bar.

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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