- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 24, 2007

PHOENIX (AP) — A 29-year-old convicted sex offender attended at least two Arizona middle schools, sat through seventh-grade courses and turned in homework as he moved around the state pretending to be 12 years old, officials say.

Authorities in Yavapai County have accused Neil Havens Rodreick II of assaulting a girl. They are not releasing details.

Rodreick was arrested last week after spending a day at the Mingus Springs Charter School in Chino Valley, about 90 miles northwest of Phoenix. School officials there called police after they checked what they called a phony birth certificate and other admissions documents.

He has been charged with misdemeanor assault, conspiracy to commit fraud, conspiracy to commit forgery, failing to register as a sex offender and possession of a forgery device. He remains in the Yavapai County jail.

The sheriff’s office there said Rodreick conned two men he was living with and having sex with into thinking he was a boy. One of them, 61-year-old Lonnie Stiffler, called himself Rodreick’s grandfather when he tried to enroll him at Mingus Springs as “Casey Price.”

Officials at another school in the Phoenix area said they were reviewing their admissions policies to figure out how they could have let an adult sex offender mix with students for so long.

“Our first priority is to help our students and our families establish a sense of security on our campus,” said Rhonda Cagle, spokeswoman for the Imagine School at Rosefield, a charter school for kindergartners through eighth-graders that Rodreick attended sporadically from August to November.

Rodreick showed up Aug. 14 at the Imagine School, officials said. He came to class from time to time, attending about 50 days until November, when administrators ousted him for poor attendance.

“He was quiet,” Miss Cagle said of Rodreick. “He turned in his homework. There were no discipline issues. He was never sent to the principal’s office. By most accounts he was aloof and kept to himself.”

Yesterday, officials of the Imagine School gave parents letters saying locks had been added to security gates and the school was working on a task force to evaluate parents’ suggestions on school safety.

Authorities say Mr. Stiffler and Robert James Snow, 43, met Rodreick online, thinking he was a preteen. They say he took Rodreick from Oklahoma to Arizona and carried on a sexual relationship with him. The two men were arrested after authorities served a search warrant at their Chino Valley home, along with Brian J. Nellis, 34, a friend who authorities say followed Rodreick from Oklahoma to Arizona.

The Yavapai County Attorney’s Office said it charged all three with conspiracy to commit fraud and conspiracy to commit forgery. Nellis and Snow also were charged with failing to register as sex offenders.

Because Snow and Mr. Stiffler are accused of thinking they were having sex with a minor, they were charged with attempted child molestation and attempted sexual contact with a minor.

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