Jury con­victs wo­man in Ce­cil County mo­lesta­tion case

Fac­ing 15 to 105 years in prison

Cecil Whig - - FRONT PAGE - By CARL HAMIL­TON

ca­hamil­ton@ce­cil­whig.com

— A wo­man is fac­ing 15 to 105 years in prison af­ter a jury con­victed her of all charges in a case in which she stood ac­cused of mo­lest­ing a boy while babysit­ting him inside his Ce­cil County home over a three­year pe­riod – start­ing when he was 8 and she was 29.

Ju­rors de­lib­er­ated about 30 min­utes on Fri­day be­fore find­ing the de­fen­dant, Nich-

ELK­TON

ole L. Rodecker, 33, guilty of child sex abuse, sec­ond­de­gree rape and two counts each of sec­ond-de­gree sex of­fense and third-de­gree sex of­fense.

Rodecker, who lives in the 200 block of Red Pump Road near Ris­ing Sun, will re­main free on bond un­til sen­tenc­ing, which is ex­pected to oc­cur in six to eight weeks.

Mo­ments af­ter the jury re­turned the guilty ver­dicts on all counts, Re­tired Ce­cil County Cir­cuit Court Judge O. Robert Lidums de­nied a mo­tion by As­sis­tant State’s At­tor­ney Mary Bur­nell to re­voke Rodecker’s bond.

Bur­nell had as­serted that Rodecker had been con­victed of six felonies af­ter a three-day trial and, there­fore, should be put back in jail and should re­main in­car­cer­ated un­til sen­tenc­ing.

Rodecker’s de­fense lawyer, Robert Ed­mund Sur­macz, coun­tered that Rodecker, whom he de­scribed as “a new mother,” needs to take care of a “her three­week-old child.” Sur­macz also ar­gued that Rodecker had ap­peared for all of her pre­vi­ous court hear­ings with­out prob­lem.

The boy, now 12, tes­ti­fied Wed­nes­day that Rodecker started mo­lest­ing him at some point when he was in third grade and that the sex­ual abuse grew in fre­quency and in­ten­sity over the next two years. Rodecker had been his babysit­ter since he was 4, he noted.

Rodecker started by touch­ing his pri­vate area about once a week over his cloth­ing, some­times when he was on the couch watch- ing tele­vi­sion, some­times when she woke him up in the morn­ing or put him to bed at night, ac­cord­ing to the boy’s tes­ti­mony.

She also walked into the bath­room when he was us­ing the toi­let and into the bed­room when he was chang­ing, al­ways open­ing a closed door to do so and al­ways “mak­ing up an ex­cuse” when he asked why, he tes­ti­fied.

When he was in the fourth grade, Rodecker started touch­ing him un­der his

clothes and later started mak­ing him take off his clothes for the fondling, he said. The mo­lesta­tion oc­curred “two or three times a week,” he added.

Ac­cord­ing to the boy’s tes­ti­mony, the mo­lest­ing in­creased to an es­ti­mated four times a week when he was in the fifth grade.

He also tes­ti­fied that, dur­ing that year, Rodecker started per­form­ing a sex act on him, in ad­di­tion to fondling him and mak­ing him touch her naked body. In ad­di­tion, ac­cord­ing to the boy’s tes­ti­mony, Rodecker forced him into an­other sex act.

“I didn’t un­der­stand what was hap­pen­ing,” the boy tes­ti­fied.

But to­ward the end of fifth grade, the boy had a class in which he learned about “good touch” and “bad touch” and he started to grasp that he had been vic­tim­ized, he told ju­rors.

“It felt weird. It hap­pened to me,” he tes­ti­fied.

Still, he didn’t feel able to tell his par­ents, teach­ers or au­thor­i­ties.

“I didn’t know what she (Rodecker) would do,” the boy told ju­rors. He also tes­ti­fied that Rodecker clas­si­fied the mo­lesta­tion as a “se­cret.”

In ad­di­tion, the boy did not come for­ward be­cause the sub­ject made him “em­bar­rassed, un­com­fort­able,” he tes­ti­fied.

Pros­e­cu­tors re­ported that the mo­lesta­tion stopped by the time the boy reached sixth grade, at some point af­ter Rodecker had learned that he would be tak­ing a sex ed­u­ca­tion class as part of his cur­ricu­lum.

The boy told his mother about the mo­lesta­tion in Novem­ber 2015 and later his fa­ther. His par­ents live apart, with the mother re­sid­ing in Ce­cil County and the fa­ther in Bal­ti­more County.

He first re­vealed the mo­lesta­tion around Thanks­giv­ing – two days af­ter Rodecker had in­formed the fam­ily that she no longer would be the babysit­ter be­cause she “wanted to move on with her life” and quit, the boy re­called on the stand.

“I didn’t care be­cause of all the things she had done to me. I was re­ally kind of happy,” the boy tes­ti­fied when Bur­nell asked how the news of Rodecker leav­ing made him feel.

Dur­ing a po­lice in­ter­view on Feb. 5, Rodecker ad­mit­ted to en­gag­ing the young­ster in fondling and sex acts and ex­plained that she did so be­cause “he was cu­ri­ous,” ac­cord­ing to a video­tape of that in­ter­view, which pros­e­cu­tors played for ju­rors.

Rodecker pro­vided de­tec­tives de­tailed ac­counts of the sex­ual en­coun­ters that she ini­ti­ated with the boy, and they essen­tially mir­rored the ac­counts that boy had given to in­ves­ti­ga­tors.

But at trial, the de­fense main­tained that in­ves­ti­ga­tors had co­erced Rodecker into her con­fes­sions and that the boy had fab­ri­cated the mo­lesta­tion. Rodecker tes­ti­fied Thurs­day that she felt in­tim­i­dated, so she told in­ves­tiga- Ni­c­hole L. Rodecker walks be­hind her de­fense lawyer, Robert Ed­mund Sur­macz, as they leave the Ce­cil County Cir­cuit Court­house on Fri­day af­ter a jury con­victed her of all charges in a child mo­lesta­tion case.

tors what she thought they wanted to hear.

Bur­nell scoffed at Rodecker’s ex­pla­na­tion dur­ing her clos­ing ar­gu­ment Fri­day, how­ever, em­pha­siz­ing that the ar­ray of de­tails given by Rodecker matched the mul­ti­tude of de­tails given by boy, al­though they were in­ter­viewed sep­a­rately and at dif­fer­ent times.

“The de­tails were stun­ningly the same. She gave the same de­tails (as the boy) about ev­ery in­stance,” Bur­nell told the ju­rors and asked, “Why on earth would she give the same de­tails about the same en­coun­ters?” There was one ex­cep­tion. While Rodecker painted the boy as the ini­tia­tor of the fondling and sex acts – the age of con­sent for sex in Mary­land is 16 – the young­ster tes­ti­fied that Rodecker forced him to touch her and en­gage in sex acts and that when­ever he tried to move away, Rodecker would pull him closer.

On the wit­ness stand, the boy used the word “weird” sev­eral times to de­scribe how he felt phys­i­cally and emo­tion­ally dur­ing those in­ci­dents with Rodecker. He also de­scribed the sound that Rodecker made when he touched her and how her body felt.

Mary­land State Po­lice Det. Sgt. Steven Juer­gens tells Rodecker in the recorded po­lice in­ter­view that the boy pro­vided “de­tails that a 12-year-old wouldn’t know about un­less he ex­pe­ri­enced them.”

RODECKER

CE­CIL WHIG PHOTO BY BRI­ANNA SHEA

CE­CIL WHIG PHOTO BY CARL HAMIL­TON

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