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Children who lived in terror were spared the trauma of testifying in court because a plea agreement approved Friday promises to put their mother behind bars for 10 years.
Myra Rodriguez, 31, admitted guilt to 16 felony and 30 misdemeanor charges regarding what court documents called “torture and cruel punishment” inflicted upon four children – the youngest who was only 3 at the time.
Plea agreements accepted by Rodriguez and her husband, Juan, eliminate the need for their trial scheduled to begin Monday in LaRue Circuit Court. Meredith said resolving the case without requiring the children to be questioned in court was a goal.
“The younger children are terrified of her,” Meredith said. “None of them wanted to see her.”
The Rodriguez family lived at 55 Boundary Oak Road where the prosecutor said the children repeatedly were exposed to painfully abusive forms of discipline and injuries from February 2007 until May 29, 2008, when authorities got involved.
The children had been pushed down steps, shoved into a bathtub and had their fingernails bent back until blood was drawn, Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Whitney Meredith said.
In an interview following Friday morning’s court appearance, Meredith also told of incidents where the children were required to sit or stand in muscle-straining positions for extended times.
Meredith said three of the four children had been adopted by the Rodriguez family. All four now live in foster care.
Myra Rodriguez’s most serious charges were two counts of assault second degree which carry a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison. The plea agreement recommends all prison terms run concurrently with state recommending no consideration of parole.
Final sentencing is scheduled for 9 a.m. March 15 before Chief Circuit Judge Charles C. Simms III, who directed Friday’s agreement.
Myra Rodriguez also admitted to eight counts of criminal abuse second degree and six counts of wanton endangerment, which are Class D felonies and carry a recommended sentence of five years. The misdemeanor charges covered 17 cases of assault fourth degree and eight counts of endangering the welfare of a minor.
In the same hearing, her 35-year-old husband Juan Rodriguez accepted a plea agreement on 11 misdemeanor counts and accepted a 12-month jail sentence that will be probated for two years.
He had six charges reduced from first-degree complicity to commit criminal abuse and accepted a guilty plea for facilitation to commit criminal abuse. He also admitted to charges of assault fourth degree and endangering the welfare of a minor.
Father ordered from state
Juan Rodriguez’s deal includes a condition that he live outside Kentucky. His attorney, Roger Rigney, said Rodriguez is living in Louisiana.
Meredith said Rodriguez traveled often with his work while the family lived in LaRue County. Meredith said his charges indicate he did nothing to prevent abuse although not an active participant in it.
Two counts against Rodriguez involving his natural born child were dropped as part of his agreement.