Madera Pastor and Foster Parent Arrested for Child Molestation has Criminal Record

Date: 2010-10-19

By Anna Laurel

Madera Police arrested Alberto Rodriguez for child molestation.

Newly filed court documents show a criminal background. A felony conviction from 1985. In 1995 the CEO of Valley Teen Ranch Foster Family Agency in Fresno says Rodriguez came here. He's been a foster parent with this agency ever since.

When we contacted Valley Teen Ranch. The CEO sent this statement:

"We take very seriously our mission, which is to provide children with safe and healthy homes, and have done so successfully for 23 years."

But Madera County Investigators say all the victims in the Rodriguez case were under Rodriguez's watch in the foster care system.

Valley Teen Ranch and The California Department of Social Services say, to become a foster parent, background checks are done.

Michael Weston with the California Department of Social Services says, "There is a very strict process for going to apply to be a foster parent we do finger print checks. We do child abuse checks through the state and FBI database. Home studies are done and it's a very through process and that's intended to insure the health and safety of the children in the foster system."

But court documents show a definite criminal conviction in Rodriguez's records.

"Certain offenses that you can apply for an exemption and the case will be looked at again and a determination will be made whether or not an exemption will be granted."

The Valley Teen Ranch CEO told KMPH news- The Department of Justice let Rodriguez through. But what about the church where Rodriguez "ministered to children"?

Pastor Roger Leach says, "Before we hire any type of staff person they have to go through fingerprinting. And we always check references. So he did go through fingerprinting and he passed."

Maybe everyone hoped for the good in Alberto Rodriguez.

Pastor Lance Leach says, "As far as Christians go, and you look at the deeds that people do, what he's been accused of is not what we would desire a Christian be known as."


Check the references

Pastor Roger Leach says, "Before we hire any type of staff person they have to go through fingerprinting. And we always check references. So he did go through fingerprinting and he passed."

Ah yes, the ol' "refer to the list of friends and references" routine.  Yes, thanks to my Afamily, I know all about that moment in time, when a list needs to be made, and a grown-up has to decide who, with a respected reputation, can be called and do a small little favor?  [I learned sociopaths are really good at keeping tabs on certain people.. and favors can be done not out of sheer pleasure, but fear, as well.  (I find this to be especially true in certain social circles and religious groups.)]

Funny thing about that list of names given to investigating agencies... rarely are the people with a negative opinion ever mentioned on that  list of 'must call' or 'will go-see'.  Rarely are the children who have been 'touched' by unwanted advances, or parents who have their suspicions ever called as a fair character witnesses.  Shame, isn't it?

Nope, instead, we have an unwritten rule that allows a list that includes only those people who can give the most glowing account.  Only those names on that list can be contacted and asked, if necessary, to provide sworn character witness and testimony.  As a result, convicted or not, even the most depraved but seemingly very good normal person can get his/her own way, regardless if that way with a child is in fact, in that child's best interest.  [See Mathew Mancuso, as another 'approved' example, which got featured on Oprah.]

Ah, such a wonderful system working FOR the children, isn't it?


When we made our application to adopt from foster care, we were asked for references.  Naturally, we gave them names of people we thought would give us a positive reference.  What are you actually proposing here, Kerry?  That adoptive parents include a list of references of people who will give a negative report?  And how would you accomplish that? 

My wife interviews families for the Fresh Air program evey year.  Over the years, thousands of inner city kids get to spend their summers in the country.  We hosted our buddy Mac (from Brooklyn) from the time he was 6 until he aged out of the program at 18.  He still visits at Christmas every year.  Should my wife be demanding negative references from her host families? Should we naturally suspect them if they include only positive references?

Next time you apply for a job in the medical field, perhaps you can include the names of references who would deem you unfit for the position.  After all, is it not in the best interest of patient care for you to do so?  No, it would be your employers responsibility to check your criminal and work history, administer a drug test, run a credit check, validate your credentials, search your license for suspensions or revocations, etc.  Should I be upset with the medical industry because they don't demand negative references when they hire applicants?

Keep applying unreasonable and unrealistic standards to adoptive parents and you will have none, no matter how many times you roll your eyes.  I guess that's the point after all, isn't it?




Negative Findings

Really, 'Dad', why must every response from you be so defensive when all I do is offer a not so peachy view from an adopted experience?  Contrary to your snarky remarks, my wish is not to rid the world of APs. (Good lord that would be stupid!) Instead, I wish to remove as many lying assholes from the ever growing adoption pool as humanly possible so the remaining AP applicants are indeed the best parent-replacements an agency can find for eligible adoptable children so they too may learn to love and trust, and enjoy a normal non-dysfunctional (f-ed up) family experience.  (Does that wish really make me the enemy, worthy of chronic criticism and attack?)  I understand I have a lot of opinions, comments and questions, based upon my own personal experience that may easily conflict with your own.  So be it, 'Dad'.  Please find a way to mature and deal with negative opinions that conflict with your own.... I sure as hell did.

On to more important matters...

Should my wife be demanding negative references from her host families? Should we naturally suspect them if they include only positive references?

 There is a huge difference between not investigating a person's background thoroughly, and demanding/offering negative-minded individuals to a job-reference list.  Your suggestion proves just how limited your thinking is. Let me use the next example you used to help illustrate my point. ...Next time you apply for a job in the medical field, perhaps you can include the names of references who would deem you unfit for the position.  In my case, I have always held really high professional standards for myself, so the worst thing anyone could say about me is, "She can have a tough reserved disposition at times".  In certain situations, I believe very strongly, that's exactly the type of professional you want a) caring for your loved-one, and b) acting as patient advocate.  [I'm kooky that way...]

So, let's look at a hypothetical co-worker who does not conduct him/herself the way I would, professionally speaking.  If an investigator from another institution was looking into a job applicant I once worked with, and that job applicant did things I knew were not 'illegal', per se, but definitely brow-raising and questionable, you think I should remain silent, or should I speak-up and say something?  Here's a hint:  damn straight I would seize the moment and say, "You know, as a matter of fact, I did observe some things I found disturbing.  For example....." (and I would LAUNCH into the truth, because it would be the right thing to do.)

Should I be upset with the medical industry because they don't demand negative references when they hire applicants?

You should be damn freakin' angry if you learned the hired heath-care professional who was neglecting or abusing your wife, your mother, your children or grandchildren had similar issues at the previous place of employment, but because no one ever thoroughly investigated reasons for termination/dismissal/removal, that so-called professional got him/herself a new position, creating new victims.  Surely you would agree, people have sued hospitals/medical groups for much less.

Here's a sad and disturbing fact:  just because there is no suspended license, no legal conviction, or flaming fingerprints pointing fingers to one shady individual, that does not mean that new applicant looking for a new position/opportunity is an ideal candidate for the job at-hand.  And for the record, some of the more sneaky sociopaths are really good at keeping records... it's called CYA, "covering your ass".  [Why, my Amother's class/test/credit scores have always been excellent....she played the role perfectly.... she was The Master, just ask her husband and son, privately.]

I myself do not have the answers or solutions.  (Sure wish I did!)  Perhaps someone who gets paid the big-bucks to ensure QA, does.

But this all leads me to a new question, proving I may very well be missing something vitally important... and perhaps, you, 'Dad', can help fill in the blanks -- does the adoption application process carry some HIPAA/right to privacy issue I don't know about?  Is an investigating organization, working for a child-placement service, by law, not allowed to give reason or notice for inquiry?  And if HIPAA rules do NOT apply to the adoption-related investigation, should former spouses, children and co-workers be notified and allowed a grace-period where they can submit their own opinion, in writing?

Here we go again

I see you came by to pick a fight with your straw man again. By all means, you know how it usually ends when you show up to engage in your nit picking antics.

The issue at hand is that personal references mean very little. Neighbours, friends, colleagues can easily be selected in such a way that only positive things are said. None of these people have any interest to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth, since it may have an impact on personal relations.

Professional references are an entirely different ball game. A former employer or supervisor is much less likely to still have personal relationships with the person the inquiry is about, so chances are that more of the truth is being told.

When a home study relies heavily on personal references, while no further back ground checks are performed, the results become very unpredictable. A child may end up with a good family, but the child may just as well end up with an adoptive/foster parent like Alberto Rodriguez or with someone like Matthew Mancuso.

How many cases do we have to present before you finally see the fact that many foster/adoptive parents slip through the screening process? Is the current number of 465 cases enough, or do we really need to have 500 cases for you to be convinced? Or do you require 1000 cases, or even more?

One of the reasons people pass the screening process is because home studies are in many situations simply a formality. If foster/adoptive parents are able to keep up appearances and their friends will write some raving reviews, they will likely pass. This may not be true for every adoption/foster care agency, but there are far too many for whom business is more important than the well being of the children they are supposed to take care of.

Keep misreading and misinterpreting our intentions. Keep attacking your straw man that has us say that adoption and foster care need to be stopped at all cost. Keep praising yourself for the wonderful things you do. I guess that's the point after all, isn't it?


Neils to the rescue, right on cue.  Perhaps you'd like to address my original question?  Probably not.

I'm still trying to imagine anyone in the public trust (such as firemen, policeman, medical care providers, airline pilots, foster/adoptive parents, etc) being required to give names of people who would provide "negative" personal references.  That's just silly no matter how many straw men you claim I'm marching into battle.

And yes, Kerry, I have a good friend who lost his daughter two years ago due to medical malpractice.  They sued and rightfully won - more power to them.  But I think he would have laughed at the idea of requiring all physicians and nurses to provide negative personal references when applying for jobs as a meaningful measure to improve health care - nevermind the simple absurdity of the whole idea.

And yes, we all know how this ends.  With a chorus of boos.  Whoop dee doo. 



I pity your ilk... I really do.... and THANK GOD ABOVE, not ALL AP's/Adoption Advocates are like you.  [WOOHOO!]

Pound Pup Legacy