Ontario Councilor Freddy Rodriguez speaks at the Black Lives Matter rally at Ontario City Hall on June 4. (Rachel Parsons/The Enterprise)
A state judge on Tuesday ruled that Alfredo “Freddy” Rodriguez, an Ontario city councilor, was a credible threat to a former girlfriend and ordered him to stay away from her for a year.
Circuit Judge Matthew Shirtcliff, a judge from Baker County handling the matter, ruled after hours of testimony in Malheur County Circuit Court as Rodriguez contested a temporary restraining order issued against him a month ago.
The restraining order was sought by a former girlfriend. The Enterprise does not identify victims of domestic abuse.
Shirtcliff said his decision was “an extremely close call,” and he had to filter through some claims that simply reflected “a bad relationship.” However, he said his decision was based on the accumulation of incidents he found credible outlined in the petition seeking the restraining order and in witness testimony.
He referenced claims that Rodriguez drove by a residence – an adult foster home – that he was ordered to stay away from in the victim’s restraining order and yelled profanity at one of the victim’s employees.
Shirtcliff said that another witness testifying about Rodriguez’s conduct was a client of the victim’s who “doesn’t appear to have a dog in this fight.”
The incident added to the weight of Shirtcliff’s finding that Rodriguez was a credible threat to the victim, he said, because “that tends to show me a lack of control.”
Whether Rodriguez’s conduct in that instance violated the restraining order, “it clearly showed a disregard for it,” Shirtcliff said.
The judge cited claims that Rodriguez several times approached the victim when they were at public events, grabbing her arm and dragging her away with enough force that she “tripped over her own feet,” according to testimony at the hearing. Once, a witness testified, he left a mark on the victim’s arm.
The judge found Rodriguez’s threats to Pat Caldwell, a reporter at the Enterprise who had dated the victim, especially “chilling.” The victim claimed that Rodriguez said he would hurt Caldwell in ways the former girlfriend “couldn’t imagine.”
Shawn Logan, Rodriguez’s attorney, contended that some incidents brought up during the hearing weren’t in the victim’s petition, which he felt was “suspect,” and that there were no direct physical threats to the victim or evidence of physical violence. Logan asked the judge to dismiss the restraining order entirely, saying the statements in the petition were “inflammatory” and “improvable.”
“I’ve never touched her like that,” Rodriguez testified.
Rodriguez, 38, has been an Ontario city councilor since January 2019. On June 4, the victim obtained a restraining order based on claims she feared Rodriguez. On June 19, Rodriguez obtained his own restraining order against the victim.
Rodriguez moved from Idaho to Ontario about five years ago. He was twice charged in domestic abuse cases in Canyon County, Idaho. The charge in one of the cases was dismissed in 2010 after he attended court-ordered treatment. He pleaded guilty in a second case that same year and was sentenced to 24 months of probation and required to attend a 52-week domestic battery treatment program.
News tip? Contact reporter Bailey Lewis at [email protected] or reporter Ardeshir Tabrizian at [email protected] or call 541-473-3377.
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