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Jury Deadlocks In Montecito Church Employee Trial

All Saints-by-the-Sea Sexton Accused of Molesting Young Girl


Friday, September 27, 2013
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The trial for a Montecito church employee charged with molesting his step-granddaughter ended in a 9-3 hung jury Thursday after four days of deliberations, leading Judge Frank Ochoa to declare a mistrial. Deputy District Attorney Benjamin Ladinig said a retrial is “a definite possibility.”

Carlos Ruano
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SBSD

Carlos Ruano

Carlos Ruano, 67, was charged with felony molestation after a 2012 incident at his Eastside home. Ruano told detectives that while he was watching three young children at his Eastside home, his step-granddaughter’s brother jumped on her, causing her to suffer stomach pain. Ruano said that he rubbed ointment on her stomach to alleviate the pain and that he may have accidentally touched the girl’s underwear near her vagina. The girl — seven years old at the time — claimed that Ruano also rubbed beneath her underwear, licked her breast, and exposed his penis. Ruano would go on to tell detectives that he thought the girl’s mother, then in the process of divorcing the girl’s father, told her daughter to make those accusations.

For more than seven years, Ruano worked at All Saints-by-the-Sea Episcopal Church in Montecito as a sexton responsible for building maintenance. Throughout the trial, Ladinig said, people from the church showed up to lend their support. “We’re disappointed that we didn’t get a conviction, but we also felt strong because the majority of the jurors were convinced of his guilt,” Ladinig said. Ruano’s defense attorney didn’t immediately return a request for comment.

Ladinig said that the date for a potential future trial will be chosen on October 4, but added that a settlement could also be likely. If he had been convicted of the charges, Ruano could have faced up to eight years in prison. Ladinig said that Ruano will remain in custody while the lawyers determine how to proceed.

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No matter which way this goes, this guy loses. Even if he is not convicted, people will always think he did it, and if the parent really set this up, that is despicable.

AZ2SB (anonymous profile)
September 28, 2013 at 8:49 a.m. (Suggest removal)

It was 8-4 for acquittal. If anyone who is reasonably intelligent listened to the entire trial it was a slam dunk for acquittal. Ladinig the prosecutor actually told the jury that any touching albeit for the purpose of administering balsamic ointment only is a felony. I heard him say it. Under his theory all babysitters could go to jail for eight years. What an absolute load. We need a new DA who doesn't have an obsession.

juandeveras (anonymous profile)
October 1, 2013 at 12:51 p.m. (Suggest removal)

was it 8-4 for acquittal as juandeveras state or 9-3 for ?? conviction? Why waste more government $ on this since Ruano's life is ruined at least in this town... the support of church members for Ruano is pretty telling.

DrDan (anonymous profile)
October 1, 2013 at 1:04 p.m. (Suggest removal)

If it was 8-4 for acquittal, then I don't understand the statement by the Deputy DA that " ... we also felt strong because the majority of the jurors were convinced of his guilt.”

discoboy (anonymous profile)
October 1, 2013 at 1:05 p.m. (Suggest removal)

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