FREEHOLD, NJ — A Lake Como man will serve 25 years in a New Jersey state prison for the repeated sexual assaults of a 7-year-old girl, according to the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office.

Santiago Gonzalez-Ruiz, 59, was sentenced on September 29 after being found guilty of first-degree aggravated sexual assault, second-degree sexual assault and third-degree endangering the welfare of a child, said prosecutor’s office spokesman Charles Webster in a statement released on October 2.

Because Gonzalez-Ruiz was sentenced on the most serious charge under the provisions of Jessica’s Law, he will not be released from prison until he is 82 years old, Webster said.

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His convictions on April 13, 2017 by a Monmouth County jury resulted from repeated sexual assaults in Lake Como involving a 7-year-old female victim over a six-month period in 2014. During weekends the girl would spend at Gonzalez-Ruiz’s 17th Avenue residence being cared for by family members, he committed multiple acts of aggravated sexual assault upon her in the living room where he slept, according to Webster.

In March 2015, the victim reported the sexual assaults to her mother when she was encouraged to visit Gonzalez-Ruiz’s residence again. The incidents were subsequently reported to the police and an investigation was conducted by the Lake Como Police Department and the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office, Special Victims Bureau.

Once the investigation began, Gonzalez-Ruiz fled Lake Como and was ultimately located by the U.S. Marshals Service and arrested on April 13, 2015, in Glen Cove, N.Y. He has been held in the Monmouth County Correctional Institution in Freehold ever since.

Gonzalez-Ruiz was sentenced under the provisions of the Jessica Lunsford Act, which became effective in New Jersey in May 2014. It requires anyone convicted of aggravated sexual assault of a child under age 13 to be sentenced to no less than 25 years and up to life in state prison with a minimum of 25 years of parole ineligibility.  He is also required to register under Megan’s Law and will be placed on parole supervision for life upon his release from prison.

The case was prosecuted by Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutor Tara Wilson. Gonzalez-Ruiz was represented by J. Michael Wicke of Freehold.

 

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