Police arrested a longtime north Texas teacher, accused of molesting at least two students. While other potential victims come forward, the news caught parents off-guard when picking up their children after school.
Wednesday, police arrested Jorge Ruiz, 53, a pre-kindergarten teacher with the Dallas Independent School District, on continuous sexual abuse of a young child, a first-degree felony, and indecency with a child by contact, a second-degree felony.
At a news conference, Dallas Police Department (DPD) Assistant Chief Christina Smith told reporters Ruiz, a 10-year veteran teacher at Kramer Elementary School, was taken into custody at 6:30 a.m. with assistance from the North Texas Fugitive Task Force. He was booked into Lew Sterrett Jail. Although Ruiz had no prior criminal record, his bail was set at a total of $200,000 for both charges.
Smith said a former student called a DPD detective on October 3. She claimed Ruiz sexually assaulted her eight years ago when she was seven years old and a first grade student in his class.
WFAA reported that the purported victim, now age 16, told the detective she was in class when Ruiz called her over one day while other students were outside at recess.
“Mr. Ruiz had called her over and told her to reach inside his pocket because there was a bunny in there,” read the arrest warrant. She said there was a hole in Ruiz’s pocket. When she reached in, she felt his genitals. Two years later, she realized what had happened. The girl told police, she did not tell her mother what happened previously because she was afraid but eventually overcame her fears, the court documents stated. Authorities charged Ruiz with continuous sexual abuse of a young child.
Assistant Police Chief Smith said, through additional investigation, a second victim came forward with similar accusations about Ruiz. He was charged with indecency with a child by contact.
“Currently, there are possible additional victims that have come forward who have been scheduled for interviews,” said Smith on Wednesday. She encouraged parents to discuss “these situations with their kids, listen to their children because children will give them information, and if they have anything that is concerning to them, please contact the police department.”
Kramer Elementary parents were shocked to learn about Ruiz at afternoon pickup. Pete Peabody, whose first and second grade children attend Kramer, told WFAA: “A lot of these parents chose to send their kids here because of the quality of the environment.” Another father, Bruce Kaye, met Ruiz when his students attended Kramer. He said: “I’m a criminal defense attorney and I didn’t get any type of ‘creepy meter’ vibe or anything like that. (Ruiz) has been here a long time and, at the same time, you have to take everything this child has said very seriously because these are very, very serious allegations.”
Dallas ISD spokeswoman Robyn Harris described the matter as “very serious.” She said in a statement: “While we are unable to comment on this personnel issue involving a teacher, we can share that the individual has been placed on administrative leave. We will continue to cooperate with authorities, and remain committed to providing a safe instructional environment for our students each day.”
This situation comes as the state grapples with a record 222 cases of improper relationships between teachers and students opened in the 2015-16 school year. Last year marked the eighth consecutive year these cases increased, an 80 percent jump in reported incidences compared to the 2008-09 school year. Then, the Texas Education Agency (TEA) opened 123. In their 2018-19 budget, the agency asked state lawmakers for nearly $400,000 to cover three investigative unit new hires to better combat the problem.
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