Sanger Police investigate two possible sex crimes by Fresno Police officer

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- A Fresno Police officer is under investigation after a former foster child's accusation led to a troubling find on his personal phone.

Sanger Police are investigating Arturo Rodriguez and Fresno police are conducting an internal investigation as well. Rodriguez has not been arrested or charged with any crime yet, but he's on paid leave from FPD after a foster daughter's accusation led to an investigation into two possible sex crimes.

The trouble started at Valley Children's Hospital when a foster child had a mandatory checkup on her way to being adopted. A search warrant Action News uncovered says the 7-year-old told a nurse her previous foster father, Art Rodriguez, touched her inappropriately.

But legal analyst Tony Capozzi says, without more evidence, the accusation might have led nowhere.

"It becomes a he said-she said," Capozzi told us. "It comes down to a credibility question: Do you believe a police officer or do you believe a child of a certain age? That might be a tough one to prosecute."

Sanger police collected a camera and a digital video recorder from the house, but investigators didn't stop there. They filed a second warrant, saying they found child pornography on Rodriguez's phone. His attorney told us he'll have a defense for both accusations.

"At this stage, it's a little early to make any definitive decisions about it, but I know they're investigating," said attorney Roger Wilson.

The warrant shows Sanger police found a web search from two days earlier with a photo of a nude female who appears to be underage. They found several more internet browsers open to similar content.

Capozzi says it looks bad, especially since Rodriguez had to give investigators a password to access his phone, but it won't have any effect on the molestation investigation.

"One doesn't have anything to do with the other," Capozzi said. "Because someone looks at child pornography doesn't mean he's molesting other children."

Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer said he is monitoring Sanger's investigation and his department is conducting one of its own.

"I'm very concerned about an officer accessing child pornography sites which is why we immediately placed him on administrative leave and suspended his of peace officer powers," Dyer said.

Sanger police said they are waiting for the Department of Justice to return some evidence before interviewing Rodriguez and then submitting the case to the District Attorney's Office to let them decide whether to file charges.

But late Tuesday, Sanger Police Chief Silver Rodriguez said: "My Investigators have indicated to me that there is nothing they have found during the course of the investigation that would constitute child pornography."
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