A former Blaine County deputy and sheriff of Lincoln County has been charged with multiple felony counts of sexual abuse of a minor, lewd conduct with a minor and rape.
Rene Rodriguez, 40, appeared via video conference from the Blaine County Correctional Facility for his initial appearance in front of Magistrate Judge Jennifer Haemmerle on Monday afternoon. Rodriguez faces one count of sexual abuse of a child under the age of 16, four counts of lewd conduct with a minor and two counts of rape, all felonies. If convicted of any of the counts of lewd conduct with a minor or rape, he could face life in prison.
Appearing as Rodriguez’s legal counsel, Michael Wood, a Twin Falls attorney, requested that his client appear before a district judge immediately and requested that his bond be reduced from $500,000 to a lower amount. Haemmerle stated that Rodriguez is scheduled to appear in District Court in front of Judge Ned Williamson on April 15, and that bond in the case would not be reduced at this time.
Rodriguez resigned as Lincoln County sheriff on Monday.
Rodriguez was a Blaine County deputy between December 2004 and September 2011 and resigned voluntarily, according to the Sheriff’s Office. He was elected sheriff of Lincoln County in 2016. Rodriguez had been on a requested leave of absence from his position as sheriff since Feb. 4, with Steve Phillips serving as sheriff in the interim, Lincoln County commissioners said.
The charges are alleged to have occurred between August 2005 and August 2014 in Lincoln, Jerome, Twin Falls and Blaine Counties.