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Hollister
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June 23, 2021

Deputy Questioned on Claims in the Past

In his 25 years with the San Benito County Sheriff’s Office,
Sgt. Mike Rodrigues has been investigated
– and was eventually cleared – for a multitude of suspected
crimes involving women.
Hollister – In his 25 years with the San Benito County Sheriff’s Office, Sgt. Mike Rodrigues has been investigated – and was eventually cleared – for a multitude of suspected crimes involving women.

In the 1980s, the accusations against Rodrigues included false imprisonment of a rape victim, using the Sheriff’s Office teletype system to pursue women romantically and domestic violence.

More recently, Rodrigues has been accused of stalking, the rapes of two women, intimidating a witness or victim and two violations of a court order to prevent domestic violence, according to local law enforcement agencies.

Rodrigues has not been charged or arrested for any of those recent suspected crimes, which include both misdemeanor and felony accusations.

When two restraining orders were filed against the sergeant in August and he was placed on paid administrative leave, he told the Free Lance: “It’s not the first frivolous complaint filed against me by parties on the outside.”

Rodrigues was placed on paid administrative leave – for as long as 10 weeks – when the allegations in prior years surfaced, according to Free Lance archives.

It was in May 1987 that then-Sheriff Harvey Nyland suspended Rodrigues for more than 10 weeks the day after a grand jury indicted him on a felony charge that he falsely imprisoned a 19-year-old Santa Cruz woman. Rodrigues, then 26 years old and a deputy at the San Benito County Sheriff’s Office, was arrested and released a week after the grand jury indictment.

During the grand jury hearing, the woman testified that on March 28, 1987, Rodrigues met her while he was on duty. The woman testified that the deputy offered her a ride halfway home after he got off work – and took her to his residence where he kept her from leaving and watched her urinate.

The woman later told officers that the night before she met Rodrigues, she had been taken to San Benito County and raped. A Hollister Police Department investigation into the allegation could not produce conclusive evidence that she had been raped, then-Police Chief Wayne Purves told the Free Lance at the time.

Rodrigues pleaded innocent, and the woman refused to testify before a preliminary hearing, at which the deputy had a right to present his side of the story before a judge decides whether to try the charge.

The District Attorney’s Office dropped the charge in August 1987.

“I’m glad it’s over,” Rodrigues said outside of the courthouse on Aug. 10, 1987. “I’m ready to get back to work.”

His attorney, Kenneth Robinson, told a Free Lance reporter after the dismissal that the woman did not want to be confronted with his cross-examination during the hearing.

The next accusation was made public in May 1989 – when charges of battery, brandishing a weapon, false imprisonment and disturbing the peace against Rodrigues were dropped by then-girlfriend Diane Humphreys, the newspaper reported.

Nyland placed Rodrigues on paid administrative leave for six weeks in May and June of 1989.

“We have worked things out,” Humphreys told the court May 9, 1989. “Mike has enrolled in counseling, and I don’t think it will happen again.”

That same week the San Benito County District Attorney’s Office filed a misdemeanor charge of unauthorized use of a computer against Rodrigues, the Free Lance reported.

The police report stated: “He would learn drivers’ names and later gather information from the office teletype. If someone particularly interested him he would re-contact (sic) them and date them if possible.”

Charges were dropped when it was learned that the woman making the allegations to a Hollister police detective actually made the first phone call to Rodrigues, the Free Lance reported.

On Oct. 24, 1989, Nyland again placed Rodrigues on paid administrative leave, but for an unreported length of time.

Rodrigues revealed to the Free Lance that Nyland had written a letter to him about the October 1989 suspension stating:

“As a peace officer you are expected to comport yourself in a lawful and dignified matter on and off duty. You are appropriately held to a higher standard of conduct in light of your position as a county law enforcement officer. Your conduct in this matter, in addition to being unlawful, has brought discredit to this office and the county of San Benito.”

Five months later, in March 1990, Nyland placed Rodrigues on paid administrative leave for two weeks, the Free Lance reported. Authorities did not disclose a reason.

Sheriff Curtis Hill, who was the undersheriff during the office’s internal affairs investigations into Rodrigues in 1989, said Thursday that he could not discuss Rodrigues’ past, citing peace officer privacy laws.

As for the new allegations, the Hollister Police Department and San Benito County Sheriff’s Office continue their investigations.

District Attorney Candice Hooper has not made a decision whether to charge Rodrigues for any of the allegations.

“There’s still further investigation,” Hooper said.

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