SANTA CLARA – A developmentally disabled woman who alleges she was sexually assaulted by a staff member at the West Valley-Mission Community College District in Santa Clara has reached a settlement with the school for $7.6 million, her attorneys announced on Wednesday.
Raymond Ruiz, 70, of San Jose, was an instructional aide in the program for students with disabilities at the school and is accused of sexually assaulting the plaintiff, according to Mark Boskovich, the civil attorney in the case. Boskovich also accuses Ruiz’s wife of covering up her husband’s behavior since she was the co-director of the disability program.
Lawyers said that the plaintiff, 26, was born legally blind and with cerebral palsy. She also has an intellectual disability. She enrolled in the Mission College program in 2018, and in 2020, Ruiz is accused of giving her alcohol in the classroom and raping her in a bathroom.
“The next day, he sexually assaulted her again,” alleges Boskovich.
In the original claim filed in the suit, “Jane Doe’s” attorneys allege that Ruiz “had a history” of engaging in inappropriate conduct with students and would “groom” them and make sexual innuendos. In 2016, the attorneys allege, Ruiz touched the breast of a student with Down syndrome, for example.
When the parents of the student with Down syndrome pulled her from the program, lawyers allege that both Ruiz and his wife called her a liar. Further, Doe’s attorneys allege that no one in the program reported the sexual battery to Adult Protective Services, which as mandated reporters they were required to do.
In October 2019, Doe’s mother said she saw inappropriate text messages from Ruiz to her daughter, where he told her he “loved” her. He had also allegedly given her gifts such as a bracelet and clothes, telling her she was his “favorite” student.
Mission College acknowledged the settlement on Tuesday, saying that it “takes seriously” the school’s commitment to safety and “failed in this case.”
“We sincerely apologize to the victim and her family and hope that this settlement provides some measure of relief for their pain and suffering,” said Bradley Davis, Chancellor of the West Valley-Mission Community College District.
Mission College says that the bulk of the six-figure payout will come largely through the college’s insurance.
Ruiz worked as a licensed caretaker in the school’s disability program and was “immediately fired” after the student’s allegations came to light, the school said.
Santa Clara police arrested Ruiz in July 2020 on suspicion of sexual assault after a joint investigation between Mission College police and the city’s Police Department. He has a trial date for Nov. 7, according to the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office.
Ruiz is charged with kidnapping to commit a sexual offense; rape by force, violence, duress, menace or fear; sexual penetration by force, violence, duress, menace or fear of bodily injury, and lewd or lascivious acts on a dependent person with the intent of appealing to passions.
Source: CBS San Francisco