PHOENIX — A caregiver at the Devereux Behavioral Health group home in Phoenix was arrested and is accused of sexually abusing young female patients, according to court documents.
Rodrigo Flores, 23, was arrested May 7 in Glendale after three patients, the youngest of which is 13, accused him of sexually assaulting them at the group home, according to court documents.
According to the documents, a 14-year-old female patient at the home told police about several different incidents where Flores sexually touched, grabbed and kissed her and one where he "started humping her over her clothes" after pushing her into a corner in her room. The incidents reportedly happened in both her bedroom and the home's laundry room.
"The defendant was certainly in a position of trust and power over the victims," said an attorney with the state during Flores' initial court appearance.
Flores' mom told a 12 News crew she believes her son is innocent. His attorney said they plan on pleading not guilty.
"We plan on entering a not guilty plea to all of these and we categorically deny any allegations that have been made," said Flores' attorney.
Court paperwork shows the 14-year-old told her teacher assistant about the incidents. Flores was placed on administrative leave and later fired after Devereux staff learned of the allegations, according to court documents and a statement from Devereux Behavioral Health.
The court documents revealed that two other girls during the investigation, ages 13 and 15, told police similar stories of Flores touching, grabbing and kissing them in their bedrooms and the home's laundry room.
Flores, according to court documents, admitted to kissing the 14- and 13-year-old victims and said he was "using poor judgment."
Flores was booked on several charges including molestation of a child, sexual abuse, aggravated assault on a minor and assault.
Here is the full statement from Devereux executive director Lane Barker released Tuesday:
"Any time a child makes an allegation of any kind, we immediately report it to law enforcement and actively partner in their investigation. Our chief goal is always the safe and effective care of our kids. We have absolutely zero tolerance for anyone who would hurt a child.
The former employee in question was immediately placed on administrative leave and was quickly thereafter terminated.
For more than 50 years, our focus has been to provide hope and healing to children. We use every tool available – from FBI child abuse clearances to police background checks – to screen potential employees prior to hire, and then provide exhaustive training before they ever work with our kids as well as thorough annual retraining to help ensure a safe and therapeutic environment."
Devereux is a behavioral health company with several locations across the Valley. It is contracted with the Arizona Department of Child Safety. Records show Flores was hired by the company on October 22nd last year.
Court documents show Flores was also working at Dependable Staffing Services. A spokesperson there released the following statement to 12 News:
"Dependable Staffing has been made aware of allegations involving a part-time employee via news media reports. This employee was not working on behalf of Dependable Staffing when the situation in question occurred.
As with all Dependable Staffing employees, the individual in question successfully completed a rigorous application process including an extensive background check, testing, training and met the specific experience and credential requirements as well as completed ongoing required employee training.
We are committed to the safety of our clients and quality of services we offer. Our management team will be taking the appropriate next steps as more information is made available to us."