Judge orders lifetime of monitoring for ‘dangerous child predator’

A Jefferson Parish judge on Friday (May 6) determined that a former Metairie resident with four convictions of possession of child pornography, who authored letters expressing his desire to sexually abuse children, is a dangerous child predator and must submit to lifelong restrictions once he’s released from prison.

Jonathan Ruiz, 34, must wear a GPS monitor on his ankle, register as a sex offender and remain under state supervision for the rest of his life, 24th Judicial District Court Judge Nancy Miller ruled after hearing testimony and reviewing a Sex Offender Assessment Panel packet of information about the man that a prosecutor presented in court.

“The court does find the content of that package extremely disturbing and clearly indicates, in this court’s mind, that Mr. Ruiz will upon release from (the Department of Corrections) in some fashion offend again,” Judge Miller said.

She based the decision on evidence presented by the Jefferson Parish District Attorney’s Office through a Sex Offender Assessment Panel. Called SOAP, the Louisiana Legislature in 2009 created the three-person panels under the state Department of Corrections and Public Safety, to determine whether inmates convicted of certain sex offenses are dangerous child predators or sexually violent predators.

Prosecutors present the panels’ findings, testimony and other evidence to judges to determine whether restrictions should be instituted before the inmates are released from prison and into the population.

Dr. Matthew Gamble, a psychiatrist appointed to evaluate Ruiz as part of the SOAP process, testified he found the letters Ruiz wrote in prison containing graphic sexual descriptions involving young children, to be “extremely worrisome.” He said Ruiz is one of only two out of hundreds of inmates he’s assessed who need the tightest lifetime restrictions.

While he was confined to the Rayburn Correctional Center in Angie from 2006 through last year, Ruiz wrote letters asserting he had sexually abused children, whom he called “toys,” and desired to do so again when released from prison, according to evidence presented in court.

Corrections officers began screening his non-legal letters after finding pictures Ruiz drew of children in sexual poses, some of which he hid in his legal documents, according to testimony.

He tore photographs of children’s faces from magazines and used them with the bodies in his drawings, leading corrections officers to ban him from magazines that contained photos of children, according to testimony. His letters also included detailed drawings of a compound that he intended to build in a remote location where he could abuse children secretly, according to the evidence.

“Sexual impulse control has continued to be a problem, even in the penitentiary setting,” Gamble testified. He said he has “a high degree of concern” that Ruiz would re-offend after he’s released from prison.

Through an attorney, Ruiz denied the accusations. The letters were written as “fiction,” and there was no evidence that Ruiz has ever sexually abused a human being, his attorney said.

In addition to theft-related offenses, Ruiz was convicted of three counts of possession of child pornography in Jefferson Parish and one conviction attempted possession of child pornography in Livingston Parish.

Ruiz’s most recent conviction in Jefferson Parish was 2006, when he received a nine-year prison sentence for three counts of possession of child pornography. At the time, Ruiz lived in the 200 block of Radiance Street in Metairie, where his parole agents and Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office deputies performing a residence check found sexually explicit photographs of children in addition to stolen property, according to the arrest report.

After he was released from prison for those convictions, he moved to New Orleans and failed to register as a sex offender, leading to his April 13 guilty plea in Orleans Parish Criminal District Court. He was sentenced to two years in prison, and when he’s released, he’ll have to comply with the conditions that Judge Miller set on Friday in deciding he is a dangerous child predator.

In addition to a lifetime of GPS monitoring and sex offender registration, Ruiz must regularly report to parole agents and submit to random, unannounced residential inspections. All of his electronic communications and internet use will be monitored as well.

Judge Miller found that the state, which carries the burden of proof in SOAP proceedings, proved “by clear and convincing evidence” that Ruiz is a child sexual predator. She found that child pornography is a sexual offense against children, and that Ruiz has a mental abnormality, which is another element of the SOAP law.

Assistant District Attorney Matt Clauss prosecuted the matter.

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