Crime

Turlock man gets 60-to-life in prison for sexually abusing child in Livingston

Turlock man get 60-to-life for sexually abusing child

Jesus Ruiz, of Turlock, was sentenced to 60 years to life in prison after he was found guilty by a Merced County jury of sexually abusing his estranged wife's child.
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Jesus Ruiz, of Turlock, was sentenced to 60 years to life in prison after he was found guilty by a Merced County jury of sexually abusing his estranged wife's child.

A 33-year-old Turlock man was sentenced to 60 years to life in prison Friday after he was found guilty by a jury of sexually abusing a child.

Jesus Ruiz was silent during his sentencing hearing Friday as Merced County Judge Jeanne Schechter handed him four consecutive prison terms of 15 years to life for repeatedly sexually abusing the child between Jan. 13, 2014, and Sept. 22, 2015.

“He took advantage of a position of trust,” Schechter said, also ordering Ruiz to pay $10,000 in restitution to the underage victim.

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Jesus Ruiz, 33, of Turlock, looks down as Merced County Judge Jeanne Schechter sentences him to 60 years to life in prison for child sex crimes Friday, Aug. 16, 2019, in Merced Superior Court. Vikaas Shanker vshanker@mercedsunstar.com

The victim and family members declined to give impact statements, Merced County Deputy District Attorney Sara Rosenthal said.

A Merced County jury on July 19 found Ruiz guilty on four out of five counts of oral copulation and sexual penetration of a child 10 years or younger.

In 2015, the victim recounted the multiple incidents of sexual abuse to a family member, who reported the abuse to Merced County Sheriff’s deputies, according to investigation reports. The victim told authorities she considered Ruiz to be a father figure.

About three years later, Ruiz was detained by Turlock police on a Merced County warrant, the reports state.

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Courtesy Merced County Sheriff's Office

Ruiz admitted to investigators he sexually touched and orally abused the child at a Livingston residence. Ruiz said prior to each incident he was drunk and took methamphetamine, according to the reports.

While talking with deputies, Ruiz said he was remorseful and wrote a letter to the victim at an investigator’s urging, apologizing to the victim and asking for forgiveness, the reports state.

Ruiz told authorities he sometimes felt like he had a “different personality” that led him to commit the crimes, according to the reports.

It wasn’t the first child sex crime allegation Ruiz has faced. He was charged in 2009 with having sex with a minor. Those charges were later dropped.

Vikaas Shanker is an award-winning reporter covering education, crime and courts for the Merced Sun-Star and Los Banos Enterprise. After growing up in Naperville, Illinois and graduating from the University of Kansas, he reported in several Chicago suburbs before moving to Merced County in 2016.
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