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Accused California Priests: Edward Anthony Rodrigue

As more cases of child sexual assault continue to surface, victims are shedding light on their abusers. In many cases, these abusers are current or former clergy members of the Catholic Church of California.

Father Edward Anthony Rodrigue, AKA “Father Tony”, was a priest who served in various Roman Catholic dioceses in California, including San Diego and San Bernardino. Before retiring in 1983, Fr. Rodrigue had presided over mass sermons for over 22 years. He was also a leading member of St. Albert’s Priory in Oakland during his early priesthood years.

Fr. Rodrigue has been accused of several accounts of sexual harassment and abuse. His victims include altar boys and other minors who served the dioceses alongside him. Many victims reported the assault to other members of the clergy, but the cases were typically concealed, and no action was taken against Fr. Rodrigue. A common solution was to transfer an accused priest to another parish in an effort to protect the diocese and the Church against public embarrassment.

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Assignments

Before Fr. Rodrigue retired from the priesthood, he served in 11 parishes from 1962-1982:

1962-1964

Mary Star of the Sea, La Jolla, CA
1962-1964

1964-1966

Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Lakeside, CA
1964-1966

1966-1967

St. John, Encinitas, CA
1966-1967

1967-1971

Our Lady of Guadalupe, Calexico, CA
1967-1971

1971-1972

Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Indio, CA
1971-1972

1972-1973

St. Joseph, Barstow, CA
1972-1973

1973-1974

St. Augustine, Eagle Mountain, CA
1973-1974

1974-1975

St. Michael, Poway, CA
1974-1975

1975-1977

Our Lady of Guadalupe, El Centro, CA
1975-1977

1977-1981

St. George, Ontario, CA
1977-1981

1981-1982

St. Joseph the Worker, Loma Linda, CA
1981-1982
St. Paul of the Cross Catholic Church, La Mirada, CA
St. Bernard, Los Angeles, CA
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Life and Charges

Fr. Rodrigue’s sexual abuse against minors trailed him everywhere he served, and the Church was forced to relocate him often in an attempt to hide his misconduct. The first child sex abuse case against Fr. Rodrigue that resulted in a legal proceeding emerged in 1979. He was accused of a misdemeanor child molestation charge, which he did not contest, and was sentenced to probation. He continued his role as a priest before retiring three years later.

Sexual abuse survivors and victims continued to come forward, accusing Fr. Rodrigue of assault, even after his retirement. He was consequently laicized in 1992. Five years later, a San Bernardino Sheriff’s report announced that Fr. Rodrigue admitted to sexually abusing an average of four to five children each year. A total of 150 abused victims were discovered after further investigation. In 2020, four of his victims in the 1960’s-70’s filed suit under the California Child Victims Act against the Diocese of San Diego. The legislation provides a three-year window that runs until December 31, 2022, and extends the rights of child sex abuse survivors to file a legal claim against their perpetrators.

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Punishment

Despite the long list of victims coming forward, the only case brought against Fr. Rodrigue was in 1998 on charges of sexual assault of an 11-year-old mentally disabled child. Fr. Rodrigue was arraigned in court and sentenced to 10 years in prison. Following his sentencing, Fr. Rodrigue was officially included in a 2007 report that listed all priests and clergy members credibly accused of child sexual abuse. He died in 2009.

How We Can Help

If you are a survivor of abuse or know a child who has been sexually abused by a clergyman in California, you have the right to legal representation. Contact Herman Law today to learn your options.