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Utahn had sexual relationship with teen she was asked to mentor, charges say

By Pat Reavy | Updated - Jul 18th, 2019 @ 4:43pm | Posted - Jul 18th, 2019 @ 12:47pm

SALT LAKE CITY — A court-appointed mentor to a teenage girl has been charged with sexually assaulting the girl.

Antonette Raina Ruiz, 26, of Draper, was charged Wednesday in 3rd District Court with four counts of object rape, a first-degree felony; four counts of enticing a minor, a second-degree felony; and obstructing justice, a third-degree felony.

A $750,000 warrant was issued for her arrest.

Ruiz was appointed by the 3rd District Juvenile Court as a mentor to work with a girl who was 15 in 2015. The appointment was part of the Village Project. The project involves finding mentors for troubled youth. Mentors are volunteers from the community and "are matched with youth based on common interests and location," the state court website states.

From 2015 until Jan. 31, 2018, Ruiz and the girl she was mentoring "had an inappropriate sexual relationship," according to charging documents. Ruiz was a court-appointed mentor for less than two months during that time. Charging documents allege the relationship included inappropriate touching in a Walmart parking lot, in one of the Cottonwood Canyons, and in a locker room at a recreational swimming pool.

Detectives first learned of the alleged inappropriate relationship in 2015.

A West Valley police detective obtained a report from Child Protective Services indicating that a 15-year-old girl "admitted to having sexual relations with Antonette Ruiz, who is believed to be 22 years old. The report indicated that Antonette is employed as a mentor at the Salt Lake Valley Detention Center, and that (the girl) has been confined in the detention center and was assigned Antonette as a mentor," a search warrant affidavit states.

A cellphone Ruiz allegedly gave the girl was examined at that time and nude images were found, the warrant states. West Valley police screened the case with the Salt Lake County District Attorney's Office, but detectives said they were told to get a statement from the victim first.

When the girl was interviewed, she denied any sexual contact with Ruiz and said the nude photos were already on her phone when she received it, according to the warrant.

Police believed the girl "was not being honest about the relationship" but had to put the case on hold, knowing "this case could be revisited when (the girl) is more mature and would be honest about what had happened," the affidavit states.

On March 27, the girl called West Valley police and "advised that she wanted to proceed with this case and wanted to provide a statement concerning what had happened," the warrant says.

The girl told police that she had seen nude pictures of herself on Ruiz's phone as recently as January.

Utah State Courts spokesman Geoff Fattah released a statement Thursday afternoon saying Ruiz was a mentor for only a brief time.

"Raina Ruiz served as a mentor for the Village Project from March 18, 2015, to May 5, 2015. Raina was terminated as a mentor due to allegations of improper conduct that we received on April 27, 2015," according to the statement.

It was the courts that contacted DCFS in 2015, Fattah said.

"The Village Project let Raina know verbally on May 1, 2015, to have no further contact with the minor, and that she would be terminated from the program. On May 5, 2015, the Village Project sent a written notice of termination to Raina Ruiz," he said.

According to the state courts, mentors must be 21 and must pass a criminal background check as well as attend an initial interview. Email: Twitter: DNewsCrimeTeam

Pat Reavy

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