The soccer coach who fled Florida and allegedly brought along a 17-year-old soccer player has been extradited from upstate New York, where the pair was found.
On Thursday, Rian Rodriguez, 27, was charged with sexual assault and interference with child custody, according to jail records.
Earlier this month, Rodriguez and Caitlyn Frisina were spotted in Syracuse by a state trooper. According to a police affidavit, the teen’s friend said that Frisina "hooked up with Rian and he worked his way into her life.” That same friend also claimed that Rodriguez wanted Frisina to leave the country with him, and flee to Canada. The teen athlete also expressed to a friend that she felt “coerced” into leaving and that she feared the man would ruin her life if she tried to end things. Frisina’s parents discovered sexual messages between their daughter and the coach on Snapchat.
Rodriguez now faces up to 35 years in jail for the two felony charges. He is currently being held on $125,000 bond.
On Friday, Rodriguez’s defense attorney claimed that the teen was the one who encouraged Rodriguez to run away.
“Her own statement was that she did most of the planning in this and that she pushed Rian to do that,” the lawyer said. “I do think framing the age of the alleged victim and the statements that she’s made make this very different than a case of a much younger child who is coerced into doing something.”
Rodriguez and Frisina went missing on Nov. 25. He was no stranger to Frisina or her family. In fact, they trusted him. Caitlyn’s mother called him a long-time family friend.
A few months before the pair went missing, Rodriguez was investigated after somebody noticed that he appeared to be having an inappropriate relationship with Frisina. However, after an investigation, a spokesman for the Columbia County Sheriff's Office said "there was nothing seen to be inappropriate.” After his capture, police discovered that he and the teen allegedly were involved in a sexual relationship. In fact, both he and Frisina allegedly admitted to police that they had sex with each other.
Now, Rodriguez has been banned from contacting Frisina, WJXT reports.
Earlier this month, at a press conference after Frisina and Rodriguez were found, Frisina’s mother said, "We had a very beautiful, wonderful, very emotional reunion with her a little while ago. We are so thankful to have her back. We are looking forward to a lot more time together and being able to get back home and move forward as a family.”
[Photo: Columbia County Sheriff's Office]