FREEHOLD – A Lake Como man was sentenced Friday to 25 years in a New Jersey state prison for the repeated sexual assaults of a 7-year old girl. The defendant was sentenced under the provisions of the Jessica Lunsford Act and will not be released from prison until he is 82 years old, announced Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni.
Santiago Gonzalez-Ruiz, 59, of Freehold, was found guilty by a Monmouth County jury on April 13, 2017 of first degree Aggravated Sexual Assault, second degree Sexual Assault and third degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child. The conviction for Endangering the Welfare of a Child merged with the Aggravated Sexual Assault conviction.
The convictions resulted from repeated sexual assaults in Lake Como involving a 7-year-old female victim. Over a six month period in the latter part of 2014, the 7-year old girl would spend weekends at defendant’s 17th Avenue residence being cared for by family members. It was during these weekends that defendant committed multiple acts of Aggravated Sexual Assault and Sexual Assault upon her in the living room where defendant slept.
The victim reported the sexual assaults to her mother in March 2015 when she was encouraged to visit defendant’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 United States Marshals Service. He was arrested on April 13, 2015, in Glen Cove, NY and has been held in the Monmouth County Correctional Institution since his arrest.
Defendant was sentenced on the most serious charge under the provisions of the Jessica Lunsford Act. The Jessica Lunsford Act, which became effective on May 15, 2014, requires anyone convicted of an Aggravated Sexual Assault under N.J.S.A. 2C:14-2a(1), to be sentenced to no less than 25 years and up to life in New Jersey State Prison with a minimum of 25 years of parole ineligibility. As a result, Gonzalez-Ruiz will be 82 years old when he satisfies his sentence. He is also required to register pursuant to Megan’s Law and will be placed on Parole Supervision for Life upon his release from State Prison.
The case was prosecuted by Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutor Tara Wilson.
Gonzalez-Ruiz was represented by J. Michael Wicke, Esq. of Freehold.
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