ARCOLA, Texas – An officer with the Arcola Police Department has been arrested and charged with sexual assault and official oppression, stemming from an incident on Nov. 16. Officials believe there’s a “strong possibility” that this was not his first offense and believe there might be other victims.
Police said Officer Hector Aaron Ruiz was charged after they received a complaint from a 23-year-old woman who said he pulled her over and “coerced her into a sexual act.”
The alleged sexual assault started in Brazoria County and ended in Fort Bend County, officials said in a press conference Thursday morning. The woman approached the Manvel Police Department to make a complaint within 24 hours of the alleged assault, officials said.
The Texas Rangers are the lead agency investigating the alleged crime and other potential victims’ cases, and they are being assisted by the Arcola Police Department, The Manvel Police Department, the Fort Bend County District Attorney’s Office and the Brazoria County District Attorney’s Office.
“The utter violation of public trust that these allegations represent is heinous and disgraceful,” said District Attorney Brian Middleton. “My office will prosecute these criminal offenses to the fullest extent possible under the law.”
Officials are urging people with information or potential victims to come forward and speak with authorities.
“I have to commend this particular victim,” Terese Buess with the Fort Bend County District Attorney’s Office said in the press conference. “It took a lot of courage to come forward.”
Ruiz was employed as a full-time police officer with the Arcola police department for 14 months. Before that he was a reserve officer on the force for about six months, officials say.
“We have taken a statement from him [Ruiz] and he admitted to a portion of our allegations," Buess said.
Ruiz is currently suspended without pay from the Arcola Police Department as investigations continue, according to Arcola Police Chief Michael Ellison.
“There’s an active criminal investigation and we’re cooperating with the DA’s Office, with the Texas Rangers and all the agencies that’s involved,” Ellison said.
Ruiz could face between 2 and 20 years in prison and a $10,000 fine for the second-degree felony sexual assault charge and up to a year in jail and a $4,000 fine for the class A misdemeanor official oppression charge. Records show Ruiz remains in jail as of Thursday afternoon.
“If there are any victims out there that had this type of interaction with this officer please let us know, don’t be afraid to come forward, we will protect you,” said Fort Bend DA, Brian Middleton.
Anyone who might have information about Ruiz or the case is asked to call (281) 341-4460.