Man in court
after alleged rape

Wendell Rodrigues is accused
of assaulting a pregnant woman

A 32-year-old woman who was allegedly raped by a man posing as a stalled motorist told him she was married and pregnant, but he assaulted her anyway, court records show.

Wendell Rodrigues, 46, of Nanakuli made his first appearance in Honolulu District Court yesterday to answer to charges of first-degree sexual assault, robbery and kidnapping in the Feb. 21 incident, which began on Paakea Road in Maili.

He was arrested at his daughter's Helelua Street home on Thursday, a day after police learned he fit the description of the woman's attacker.

The woman told police she was driving on Paakea Road at about 10 a.m. when she stopped for a man standing in the middle of the roadway. When she asked him if anything was wrong, the man allegedly told her yes, then pulled out a pocketknife and entered her car through the front passenger door.

Because she feared for her safety, the woman told police she did not try to escape. The man allegedly demanded her wallet and searched her bag, taking a white envelope with $1,200 in cash.

The man ordered her to continue driving in the area and then to park beneath a tree, according to police.

The woman remembered she had a metal bar beside the driver's seat and swung it at Rodrigues but missed. He took the bar away and sexually assaulted her, according to police.

Rodrigues stopped assaulting her when he heard a car approaching, and he fled on foot, according to police.

The woman tried to drive to St. Francis Medical Center, but her car stalled. A passer-by helped her and called 911. The woman identified Rodrigues in a photo lineup last Wednesday, a day before his arrest. He has been arrested 94 times previously, police said.

According to criminal records, Rodrigues has been convicted 37 times, seven times for felonies involving property crimes and drug offenses. The rest include moving violations, parole and probation violations, misdemeanor assault, driving under the influence, criminal contempt and abuse of a household member.

His last stint behind bars was a five-year mandatory minimum term for a second-degree burglary conviction in March 1998. In May 2003 he was found guilty of fourth-degree theft and fined $150.

Rodrigues is being held in lieu of $75,000 bail. He is expected to appear in Honolulu District Court tomorrow.

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