Judge sentences man in Down syndrome sex abuse case to prison

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ST. GEORGE – A St. George man was sentenced Wednesday to serve time in prison on charges stemming from the sexual abuse of a woman with Down syndrome.

Rodney Ben Trujillo, of St. George, Utah, booking photo posted Oct. 12, 2015 | Photo courtesy of Washington County Sheriff’s booking, St. George News
Rodney Ben Trujillo, of St. George, Utah, booking photo posted Oct. 12, 2015 | Photo courtesy of Washington County Sheriff’s booking, St. George News

Rodney Ben Trujillo, 49, appeared in 5th District Court with attorney Trevor Terry Wednesday afternoon to learn his fate in the wake of pleading guilty to felony charges of forcible sexual sodomy and sexual abuse. He pleaded guilty to the charges in January. An additional charge of aggravating kidnapping was dismissed by the court.

“This is a hard case, obviously because of the subject matter,” Terry said as he addressed Judge Michael G. Westfall.

Deputy Washington County Attorney Zachary Weiland said the victim thought Trujillo loved her and that they were going to get married. He also asked the woman what her favorite TV show was, and she replied it was “Spongebob Squarepants.”

Weiland also indicated during the hearing that Trujillo and the woman apparently knew each prior to the October 2015 incident.

“I’m very, very remorseful for what I’ve done,” Trujillo told the court, adding he wished he had the chance to go back and fix what had happened. “I feel very bad,” he said.

According to court documents from October 2015, Trujillo took the 20-year-old woman with Down syndrome into a travel trailer where they viewed pornography and engaged in sexual touching.

Trujillo subsequently kept the woman hidden from friends and family who were trying to find her, and told her not to tell anyone about the incident.

Police became involved after being called to Dixie Regional Medical Center in St. George where the woman was examined following the incident.

Terry said the “forcible” aspect of the charges stemming from the case were related more to a person of diminished mental capacity not being being able to give consent rather than an actual act of force or violence.

Terry said he believed probation combined with mental health and sex offense treatment would benefit his client more than his being sent to prison. He also noted that, despite a pre-existing criminal history largely involving theft, this was the first time Trujillo had committed a sex offense.

Westfall sentenced Trujillo to serve a minimum of five years to life in prison, but also recommended that sex offender treatment be made available to the man and that he be given six-months credit for time already served in jail since his arrest.

Trujillo began to tremble once Westfall pronounced his sentence.

Weiland told the court that the victim has since been taken into state custody as officials believe she isn’t adequately protected in her home, as the incident occurred while her mother was in a treatment facility at the time.

Email: mkessler@stgnews.com

Twitter: @MoriKessler

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2016, all rights reserved.

 

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3 Comments

  • Ronnie Keith March 18, 2016 at 12:03 am

    Woo Hoo it is about time that this scumbag is finally being held responsible for his action’s. He is a monster and I can say, he is,not sorry for what he has done. He is only sorry that he got caught. This not his frist time kidnapping and sexually abusing a woman either. Just the first time that he has got caught, and that the victim pressed charges. Maybe his other victims will now find the courage to come forward and tell their stories, knowing this monster is locked up and can never hurt them again.

  • sagemoon March 18, 2016 at 9:36 am

    Good call, Judge Westfall.

  • Mean Momma March 18, 2016 at 12:59 pm

    Awwww the poor sicko sex offender began to tremble when he was read his sentence. Poor, poor baby. Don’t worry, Bubba will cuddle you every night in prison and maybe even wipe away your tears.

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