WASHINGTON COUNTY, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — A Northwest Arkansas man was sentenced to 160 years in prison yesterday for rape and sexual assault involving a minor.
Joseph Rodriguez-Berdecia, 35, of Lowell, was charged with three counts of rape, one count of first-degree sexual assault, one count of second-degree sexual assault and one count of third-degree domestic battery.
The victim in these incidents was under 14 years old, and Rodriguez-Berdecia was reportedly in a position of authority over the minor at the time.
The case was first filed in April 2021 and pertains to incidents that court documents say occurred in 2016.
Rodriguez-Berdecia’s three-day jury trial in Washington County ended this week. Senior Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Denis Dean said that the jury returned guilty verdicts on all six counts.
“The jury’s decision in this case should serve as a massive deterrent to any of those in our community who make the decision to prey on our children. This horrendous conduct will not be tolerated, and the wrongdoers will be punished harshly,” Dean said.