On trial for rape of two children, Manhattan man’s actions show pattern, prosecutor argues

Buy Now Riley County Courthouse Staff photo by Nickolas Oatley Despite a lack of physical evidence, the actions of a Manhattan man accused of rape and indecent liberties with children show a pattern that points to guilt, prosecutors argued Thursday.

Jurors heard closing arguments on the second day of a trial for Rodney Roberts, 52, who is accused of three counts of rape and two counts of indecent liberties with a child. Prosecutors argued that between late 2014 and May 2018, Roberts allegedly raped and inappropriately touched two children under the age of 14.

The mother of one of the girls reported Roberts to police in May 2018 when she learned from her daughter that Roberts allegedly had inappropriately touched her over the four-year period he lived with the family. However, Roberts had already moved out of the house several months earlier, and his alleged actions with the other victim had occurred in 2014, so police were unable to collect any evidence beyond the two girls’ testimonies.

The girls and their mothers were named in court, but The Mercury does not identify victims of sexual assault.

Bethany Fields, deputy county attorney, said jurors should convict Roberts because of the consistencies between the victims’ testimonies to the Child Advocacy Center and to the jury during the trial.

“As you go through the testimony and think about this case and talk about it in your deliberation, I want you to think about the different consistencies,” Fields said, “how the witnesses have been consistent with each other […]

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