Judge Orders Release Of Police Interview Tapes In Odd Sex Case

Saturday, February 17th 2007, 4:46 pm
By: News On 6

PRESCOTT, Ariz. (AP) _ A judge has ordered the release of police interview tapes in the case of a man who allegedly posed as a 12-year-old to enroll in several Arizona charter schools.

The tapes of conversations between detectives and Neil H. Rodreick II, 29, and three other men charged in the case will be released Tuesday unless an appeals court intervenes. Yavapai County Superior Court Judge Thomas Lindberg ordered the release Friday after the County Attorney's Office asked for a ruling on public records requests made by numerous new media outlets.

Lawyers for Rodreick, Lonnie Stiffler, 61, and Robert J. Snow, 43, and Brian Nellis, 34, have until midday Tuesday to try to get an appeals court to act.

Attorneys for Rodreick and Stiffler opposed the release, while The Arizona Republic and KPNX-TV in Phoenix filed papers supporting the release.

Rodreick, a registered sex offender who served prison time in Oklahoma, was arrested last month after he tried to enroll in a charter school in Chino Valley. He was living with Nellis, a former cellmate, Stiffler and Snow.

Authorities say Rodreick conned Stiffler and Snow into believing he was a young boy, and that Stiffler pretended to be his grandfather when he tried to enroll him at the Chino Valley school. Investigators have since learned that he enrolled in at least three other schools in Arizona in the past two years.

While living in Prescott, police there said Rodreick brought home children who joined a skateboarding club he started, but none reported being harmed.

Rodreick shaved and wore pancake makeup to masquerade as a seventh-grader, police reports show.

Rodreick is charged in Yavapai County with 15 criminal counts, including child pornography, assault, fraud, forgery and failing to register as a sex offender stemming from a 1996 Oklahoma incident in which he was convicted of lewdly propositioning a 6-year-old boy.

Nellis, Stiffler and Snow have been indicted on various charges, including child pornography and forgery. Nellis and Snow, both convicted sex offenders, were also charged with failing to register with authorities.

Authorities in Oklahoma have recommended felony molestation charges against Rodreick after they traced a video found her showing him having sex with an 11-year-old boy from Oklahoma City. It wasn't clear Saturday if those charges have been filed.

In Prescott Friday, Judge Lindberg said the defendants did not show that ``confidentiality, privacy and the best interests of the state'' outweigh the public's right to know.

Rodreick's lawyer, Steven August, said he is considering an appeal of the release order.

``The public records law is very broad and very favorable to the release,'' August said. ``However, in this particular case, because of the unique circumstances, it is going to be difficult to pick a jury'' because of the amount of publicity.

But Nellis' attorney said the release won't affect what any jury would hear so he has no plans to appeal.