Central Valley

Turlock sued over cop sex case

TURLOCK -- A teenager who claims former Turlock police officer Jorge Cruz raped her when she was a member of a police explorer program wants at least $500,000 for her pain and suffering, according to a lawsuit filed in Stanislaus County Superior Court.

Cruz was convicted of three felonies for having sex with a minor and is serving a 16-month prison sentence.

Prosecutors said they did not have enough evidence to take a rape charge to trial, but the woman argues Cruz threatened her life and still is liable for sexual assault and battery under color of authority.

"I truly feared for my safety and I still do," the victim wrote in her lawsuit.

Her attorney, Brian Davis of Modesto, said they hope to mediate the case and avoid a trial.

"In the long run, it's better for all the parties involved," he said.

The City Council denied the woman's claim against the city last June.

The Bee is not naming the woman because of the nature of the allegations.

The victim said Cruz, then an officer, touched her breasts and other areas without consent while on ridealongs and put his hands around her throat, according to court documents. She said Cruz told her that members of his family were gang members who have killed two people. The victim claimed Cruz told her she could expect the same, the documents said.

Cruz called the Pitman High School student in June 2007 while off duty and told her to meet him at the Almond Tree Restaurant in Turlock. Cruz took the girl's cell phone and she drove him to a Modesto motel where the sex acts took place, according to the lawsuit.

Cruz, in court papers filed April 30, denied the victim had been "injured or damaged." He said she "consented to the acts."

She is asking for at least $500,000, claiming to have suffered "severe emotional distress, anxiety, sleeplessness, depression, loss of self-esteem and fearfulness," court documents said, and she has had psychological counseling.

Her lawsuit also seeks unspecified damages, should a judge or jury award more than $500,000. The lawsuit is in its preliminary stages with no trial date scheduled.

The incident came to light after the victim was found to be having a sexual relationship with her teacher, Carl Troy Kubicek. She had told Kubicek about Cruz, who told investigators after his own relationship with the victim was uncovered.

Kubicek is serving a seven-month jail sentence.

During a September hearing, prosecutor Annette Rees read a statement from the girl describing her experience with Cruz.

"He took something from me that I will never get back. He took my security, my innocence," it read.

She said she doesn't feel safe anywhere and sleeps with a gun.

"Sometimes I think it would be easier to die than to deal with what he did to me," read the statement.

Cruz wrote three sentences in his statement to the probation department.

"I regret what occurred because it destroyed my character, credibility and my family," he wrote.

Bee staff writer Merrill Balassone can be reached at mbalassone@modbee.com or 578-2337.

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