A 21-year-old youth church leader from Waukesha has pleaded guilty to using a computer to facilitate a child sex crime.
Diego A. Rodriguez entered his plea on Friday, Jan. 22, about seven months after he was charged with one felony count tied to his use of a smartphone application to meet and have sex with a minor in 2015.
He had also been charged with three misdemeanor counts of sexual intercourse with a child age 16 or older, but those counts were dismissed as part of a plea agreement.
Rodriguez will be sentenced April 4. His cash bond has been revoked until his sentencing hearing. He had been held on a $25,000 cash bond at the Waukesha County Jail.
According to the criminal complaint, Rodriguez, a youth leader at Apostolic Faith Church in Racine, met a 16-year-old boy in early 2015 through a phone app called "Grindr," used by males looking to have sex with other males.
Rodriguez said in the complaint the boy initially presented himself as an 18-year-old. However, after Rodriguez learned the boy was 16 after their first sexual encounter at a home in the town of Waukesha, Rodriguez said he still wanted to have sex with the boy.
Rodriguez said there were two other sexual encounters, both of which involved oral sex: one at his house at 1821 Cottonwood Drive, Waukesha, and the other in his car behind the Target store at 1250 W. Sunset Drive, Waukesha. The boy told police in the complaint he was a willing participant and wasn't forced or threatened in any way.
Rodriguez also used Grindr to communicate with a police detective during an undercover sex sting. According to the complaint, Rodriguez believed he was communicating with a 15-year-old boy, beginning in June. According to the complaint, Rodriguez was looking to set up a "three-way."
Rodriguez, who requested pictures of the boy, asked if he would be interested in having sex, according to the complaint. Some weeks later, Rodriguez then sent the undercover officer a text message on Grindr asking if he could "host" — slang for having sex at his residence.
In June, Rodriguez sent the undercover officer another message saying he was looking to have sex. Rodriguez made his remarks, despite being reminded the boy was 15 years old.
When he showed up to meet the boy, Rodriguez instead found police waiting for him in a fast-food parking lot in Waukesha. Rodriguez said in the criminal complaint that he knows it's illegal to have sex with a 15-year-old. He added he wanted to have a consensual encounter with the boy and said he would have stopped if the boy told him, the complaint said.