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SANTA ANA : Woman Gets Jail for Bribes, Intimidation

A Garden Grove mother and Sunday school teacher was sentenced Friday to one year in jail for bribing and intimidating witnesses against her sons, who were facing charges in separate gang-related robbery and sexual assault cases.

Maria Trinidad Rodarte, 43, pleaded guilty in March to two felony counts of bribery. In once case, Maria Rodarte offered a woman $500 in June to retract her identification of Lino Rodarte, 21, as one of several reputed gang members who robbed a pizza delivery driver, said Deputy Dist. Atty. John Anderson.

In a second, unrelated incident, Maria Rodarte intimidated a witness between December, 1990, and January, 1991, into changing her testimony against Raul Rodarte, 24, who was accused of robbery and sexual assault, Anderson said.

Orange County Superior Court Judge William R. Froeberg, who also sentenced Rodarte to three years’ probation, had harsh words for her, Anderson said.

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“The judge told her that all of society was a victim in this case,” Anderson said. “The judge thought it was an egregious crime.”

Rodarte’s attorney did not return a phone call seeking comment. The judge allowed Rodarte to postpone until July 8 reporting to jail.

A sentencing report prepared by the Orange County Probation Department said a mitigating factor in Rodarte’s favor was evidence that she only wanted to protect her sons.

But Anderson disagreed. He also said evidence that Rodarte taught Sunday school at her local church and was involved in anti-drug and anti-gang efforts worked against--not for--her.

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“Anyone and everyone knows that what she did was wrong,” Anderson said. “If she was involved in those activities, then she is more aware than the average person about why this is so wrong. You don’t help your sons by perverting the same system designed to protect their rights.”


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