A former high school soccer coach who police said planned to leave the country with a 17-year-old student is now facing a child sex charge.
Rian Rodriguez, 27, was caught in Syracuse, New York, with Columbia County teenager Caitlyn Frisina, authorities said. He had been planning to buy bogus credentials so the two could leave the country, according to police.
Rodriguez has been charged with unlawful sexual activity with a minor, a second-degree felony. He had previously been charged with interference with child custody, a third-degree felony.
He was brought back to Columbia County this week after choosing not to fight extradition.
Rodriguez faces a maximum of 30 years in prison on the child sex charge and five years on the custody interference charge.
Rodriguez faced a Columbia County judge Friday morning after being booked into the county’s jail on Thursday. His mother and father were in the courtroom, along with Caitlyn’s mother.
The judge set bond for Rodriguez at $125,000 on the two charges. If Rodriguez bonds out, the judge ordered that he have no contact with Caitlyn or her family or any other minors or children. He will have to surrender his passport, can not drink alcohol and will have to wear a GPS monitor.
Rodriguez and Caitlyn were at the center of a nationwide search after the teen ran away from home last month. Authorities found the pair near Syracuse on Dec. 1.
A friend of Caitlyn’s said the teen, a Fort White High soccer player, was in a relationship with Rodriguez, who was the assistant coach for the boys team at the school, court documents show.
The school district said during the search for the pair that Rodriguez had been fired for not showing up to work.
Rodriguez reportedly had started a new job in New York to fund his travels with Caitlyn.
He is scheduled for a status hearing in Columbia County at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday.
Rodriguez’s parents and Caitlyn’s mother declined to comment after the hearing.