DNA evidence has led to the arrest of a man deputies say broke into a teen’s room through a window and sexually battered the child, according to an arrest affidavit.
Jerome Rodriguez, 21, was arrested by the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office on Friday on a charge that he sexually battered a person who was older than 12 and under the age of 18. He also faces a charge of burglary with assault. Both are felonies.
The teen’s age and gender are not listed in the affidavit.
According to the affidavit, the teen met Rodriguez, who was 20 years old at the time, through Snapchat. Rodriguez told the victim he wanted to meet them in person. The teen gave Rodriguez their address, but didn’t plan a time for him to come over.
The teen did not give Rodriguez any sign they wanted a sexual relationship with him, the affidavit states.
On June 27, 2021, Rodriguez came in through the teen’s open window without permission and sexually battered them, the affidavit states. He then left through the window, according to the affidavit.
The teen underwent a sexual assault exam and evidence was submitted to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
The teen also gave deputies Instagram account information for the man they had met online, the affidavit said. The two communicated on Snapchat, the affidavit said, but it was unclear if they had communicated over Instagram.
On May 17, the Sheriff’s Office subpoenaed records relating to the Instagram account the teen provided, which led deputies to Rodriguez, the affidavit said.
Nearly a year after the incident, deputies used a search warrant to get Rodriguez’s DNA. On Wednesday, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement finished the comparison between Rodriguez’s DNA and the DNA found through the victim’s sexual assault kit. The DNA was found to likely belong to Rodriguez, the affidavit said.
Rodriguez was released from a Hillsborough County Jail on Friday after he posted $30,000 bail, records show.
Rodriguez could not be reached for comment. A lawyer who could potentially speak on his behalf was not listed in his court docket Monday.
How to get help
If you are the victim of a sexual assault, call 911. Rape crisis centers are legally and ethically required to protect confidentiality.
Hillsborough County: If you need support, assistance or an exam, contact the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay’s 24/7 Sexual Assault Services by calling 211 or visiting www.crisiscenter.com. Appointments at these facilities can be scheduled by calling 211 or 813-264-9961:
- The Crisis Center of Tampa Bay, 1 Crisis Center Plaza, Tampa.
- Mary Lee’s House, 2806 N Armenia Ave., Tampa.
- Corbett Trauma Center, 1106 Nikki View Drive, Brandon.
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Pasco County: For help and support, contact Sunrise of Pasco County at 1-888-668-7273 or 352-521-3120, or go online at www.sunrisepasco.org. Call 352-567-1681 to schedule appointments at:
- Sunrise Outreach East, 12720 Smith Road, Dade City.
Pinellas County: If you need support, assistance or an exam, call the Suncoast Center at 727-530-7273 or go online at www.suncoastcenter.org. Advocacy and forensic services are available at:
- Suncoast Center, 2960 Roosevelt Blvd., Clearwater.