Teens Get Groped at Water Park And Remind Us That Nowhere Is Safe

pool tubes

Hey, you know what's a fun thing for teens to do, particularly on a summer holiday weekend like the 4th of July? Go to a water park, of course! Except not for two 17-year-old girls who spent their Independence Day at the Michigan's Adventure park, because there just happened to be a disgusting older man lurking in the wave pool

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As the mother of a 14-year-old daughter, the story is enough to make my blood run cold: The two teenage girls were just innocently hanging out in the wave pool when they say 29-year-old Eliazar Rivas-Rodriguez touched them inappropriately. One teen says he grabbed her in the crotch area once; the other says he did the same thing to her three times, "then grabbed her by the ankle under the water when she tried to flee."

How terrifying! And in a wave pool, no less, where it's not always easy to get your bearings! The girls, thankfully, knew exactly what to do, and went straight to the lifeguards to point Rivas-Rodriguez out and tell them what happened. Security was notified, and they kept an eye on the suspect until a Michigan state trooper arrived. Rivas-Rodriguez denies the allegations, but was arraigned Tuesday on two counts of "fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct involving force or coercion," and his bond has been set at $50,000. If convicted, he faces up to two years in prison or deportation (Rivas-Rodriguez is an illegal immigrant.)

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It's just so scary to think that this happened in broad daylight, at a family amusement park, no less! If my daughter wanted to go to a wave pool with her friends, I wouldn't think anything of it -- with all the parents and little kids around, it seems like a less dangerous place than the mall, even. The only thing I've ever worried about lurking in wave pools is bacteria ('cause you know there's a ton of it!). This story is an unfortuante reminder to parents that predators are EVERYWHERE, and we can never let our guard down. (And neither can our kids!)

Would you expect a wave pool to be a safe place to send your teenagers?

 

Image via Malia/Flickr

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