Santa Maria man charged with child molestation faces life in prison

Manuel Ruiz Rios has been found guilty

SANTA BARBARA COUNTY, Calif. - Santa Barbara County District Attorney Joyce D. Dudley announced Wednesday that 34-year old Manuel Ruiz Rios from Santa Maria has been found guilty of child molestation and will face life in prison.

The District has charged Ruiz with one county of forcible lewd acts on a child, six counts of aggravated sexual assault of a child, four counts of molestation of a child under 10-years old, and two counts of child sexual intercourse.

Dudley says Ruiz molested two victims multiple times over a three year period, beginning when the children were as young as three years old.

“These two child victims were extraordinarily brave and articulate," said Dudley. "As a result of their testimony, this defendant will never be able to hurt another child. Cases like this require exemplary investigation which was done in this case by Detective Jose De Leija of the Santa Maria Police Department. Finally, Deputy District Attorney Chrystal Joseph’s careful, zealous and compassionate prosecution made it possible for these two young girls to speak the truth.”

Ruiz will be sentenced on June 27 in a Santa Barbara Superior Court.

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