Entertainer Cecilio Rodriguez has pleaded not guilty to charges of sex crimes against two children, going back 14 years in Los Angeles, according to court documents.
Rodriguez, 66, was arrested Tuesday in Los Angeles for allegedly committing a sex crime against two girls, who were both under age 14 at the time. The two-count felony complaint against Rodriguez said the first alleged sex crime occurred with an underage girl between Nov. 6, 1997, and Nov. 5, 1999. The second occurred between May 6, 1996, and May 5, 1998.
The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office said Rodriguez faces a maximum imprisonment of 10 years if convicted.
Rodriguez, of the group Cecilio & Kapono, is being held on $200,000 bail in the Los Angeles County Jail after entering a not guilty plea Wednesday in Compton Municipal Court. He was represented by a public defender at the hearing. The arrest warrant said that Rodriguez is also known as “Uncle K.” His preliminary hearing will be set at his next court appearance on Oct. 13.
Both of the female accusers are now under 28 years old, according to court documents. They are both unrelated to Rodriguez but are family acquaintances.
In both cases, the criminal warrant alleges that Rodriguez did “willfully, unlawfully, and lewdly commit a lewd and lascivious act” with children under the age of 14.
Rodriguez was convicted of attempted sexual assault 17 years ago in Hawaii. He pleaded no contest to attempted sexual assault in the second degree in 1994 and was sentenced to one year in jail, 500 hours of community service and mandatory participation in a sex-offender treatment program.
As part of his deferred acceptance plea to wipe the conviction off his record if he stayed out of trouble for 10 years, he was ordered to avoid employment where he would be with children under 14 without the supervision of an approved adult and he was prohibited from making contact with any minor child without the permission of his probation officer, according to Hawaii court records.
On Aug. 31, Rodriguez was found guilty of operating a vehicle under the influence of an intoxicant. He was sentenced to 240 hours of community service and a $500 fine.
C&K formed in 1973 when Rodriguez was introduced by friends to Henry Kapono, according to the group’s website. The duo recorded more than a dozen albums.
Earlier this month, Cecilio & Kapono performed their fourth annual “Back in the Day” concert series at Hawaii Theatre and in Waikiki. The tour continued on the mainland with dates in Colorado, Washington, Oregon and California. The pair performed last week in Southern California.
Kapono issued a statement this morning expressing surprise at the arrest.
“I am currently on vacation at Disneyland with my family and have just recently learned about Cecilio’s arrest in Los Angeles,” he said. “I have received many calls from media and friends. I have not spoken with him and only know what has been reported in the media. I did not see this coming. I am saddened for Cecilio and heart broken for the family involved. My heart and prayers go out to them.”