SAN DIEGO – A nurse accused of engaging in a sex act with another nurse while caring for a 99-year-old stroke victim pleaded not guilty Monday to charges of elder neglect and lewd act by a caregiver.
Deputy District Attorney Paul Greenwood said a March 2011 video shows Ruiz and co-defendant Russel Torralba — who is also charged in the case but remains at large — engaging in a sex act near the bedridden woman they were caring for.
The woman’s daughter suspected that her mother was not being cared for properly and complained to the defendants’ employer. When the complaints went nowhere, family members viewed video from security cameras that had been installed in the woman’s home years earlier.
Greenwood said the video shows Ruiz and Torralba engaging in a sex act and Ruiz taking the woman’s hand and putting it on his groin area.
Ruiz and Torralba are also charged with providing inadequate care for six other residents at two board-and-care facilities in Mira Mesa in 2010, the prosecutor said.
Ruiz’s attorney, Eric Stene, unsuccessfully argued that bail be lowered to $20,000, saying that Ruiz was not a danger to the community.
“The conduct here is nothing less than horrible,” Superior Court Judge Frederick Maguire said.
Stene said both Ruiz and Torralba have lost their nursing licenses.
The defendants are charged with four felony and four misdemeanor counts of elder neglect by a caregiver and one count of lewd act by a caregiver on a dependent adult.
They each face 11 years in prison if convicted, Greenwood said.
A readiness conference is scheduled for Jan. 3 and a preliminary hearing for Jan. 7.