Former sheriff’s deputy pleads no contest to possessing child porn

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A Santa Clarita Valley resident and former L.A. County Sheriff’s Department deputy pleaded no contest this week to possessing child pornography, according to officials in the District Attorney’s Office.  

Scott Rodriguez, of Agua Dulce, was working for the Sheriff’s Department as a K-9 unit handler when, on Jan. 22, 2021, investigators accused him of using a Snapchat alias to download multiple pornographic images of children.  

On Thursday, the former deputy — who was charged by prosecutors and dismissed from the Sheriff’s Department on the same day  — entered a no contest plea to one count of possession of child or youth pornography. With a “no contest” plea being treated the same as a “guilty plea,” Rodriguez was ordered to return for sentencing on Aug. 12. 

In his May 7, 2021, testimony, Sgt. Roger Ballesteros of the LASD Internal Criminal Investigations Bureau said the charge against Rodriguez stemmed from a cyber tip, regarding a sworn deputy who downloaded underage pornography to his personal Snapchat account.   

Before handing the case over to Internal Investigations, Ballesteros said that Special Victims Unit detectives reportedly conducted a warrant search, finding that the IP address associated with the image downloads were run through an encrypted WiFi signal at an Agua Dulce house, where Rodriguez and his wife, an administrative operations deputy in the department’s custody investigative service, lived with their infant child, according to court records. 

The download from which the current case stems occurred on or around July 18, 2019, and consisted of five images: one image of an approximately 7-year-old girl nude and being penetrated by a foreign object; and four others were of nude 10-year-old girls in sexual positions or committing sexual acts, Ballesteros testified.  

An iMac computer at the home was also searched, and Ballesteros said there were 59 images of nude girls on there, as well. But despite having a watermark on each image that read “TEENFUNS,” investigators could not confirm whether the girls in the images were of legal age.    

The former deputy’s defense counsel challenged the merit of Ballesteros’ suspicion of his client on the grounds that the investigator didn’t interview any Snapchat employee about their company policies and procedures, a medical doctor had not confirmed the age of the children in the photos allegedly downloaded and, outside of the original web alert sent to law enforcement, none of the images existed on Rodriguez’s social media account when deputies began to collect evidence last spring.   
 

Both the username and email pointed investigators to an IP address on the 22000 block of Vasquez Canyon Road, where both Rodriguez and his now-ex-wife resided with their child, Ballesteros said. Rodriguez also confirmed the number “68” in the Snapchat username and email – ”Stewy68” and “[email protected]” — was an homage to the defendant’s high school football number.  

After comparing the couple’s work schedules against what they determined to be the exact time the images were downloaded, Ballesteros said he believed that only Rodriguez could have initiated the transfer of illegal images.   

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