Caleb Ruh, a 29-year-old Flagler County man accused two years ago of molesting a 7-year-old girl in his care, was found guilty of lewd and lascivious molestation in a jury trial that ended late this afternoon.
Ruh faces life in prison and will be designated a sexual predator. He will be sentenced on Sept. 29 by Flagler County Circuit Judge J. David Walsh.
Ruh was represented by public defender Regina Nunnally, who argued at trial that Ruh suffered from “sexsomnia” and committed the acts while asleep.
Susan Davis writing for WebMD summarizes the disorder this way: “Also called ‘sleep sex,’ sexsomnia is a type of parasomnia, where the brain is caught in transition between sleeping and waking states. As with other parasomnias — including sleepwalking, sleep talking, and, yes, sleep driving — someone who is sleep sexing can seem fully awake and aware, even as he or she is masturbating, or fondling, initiating intercourse with, or even sexually assaulting a bed partner. But he or she truly is asleep. In fact, a diagnosis of sexsomnia has been used as a defense in several rape and molestation cases in recent years.”
In Ruh’s case, a jury of five men and one women didn’t buy it. The jury issued the verdict before Walsh after deliberating 90 minutes.
Ruh, who lives in a part of southern Flagler County that has Ormond Beach addresses, was arrested on Aug. 31, 2012, following a Department of Children and Families investigation earlier into an incident that took place July 1.
Ruh, according to his arrest report at the time, had been left in charge of the 7 year old girl while her mother and a 1-year-old child went to the store. The girl told her mother that Ruh had fallen asleep on the couch, then at one point had called out the girl’s name, grabbed the girl, and tried to kiss and touch her. The girl tried to awaken Ruh, who would later say that he’d taken Xanax before falling asleep. Xanax is an anti-anxiety prescription.
The girl later confronted Ruh about it. He refused to talk about it and claimed that the incident couldn’t have happened. The girl would later tell her mother that on another occasion, Ruh had blindfolded her and put things in her mouth, with the object of the “game” being that she had to guess what it was. The child’s mother took both her children to Broward County, where, the report states, a Child Protective Team concluded that there had been “two acts of sexual violence.”
Ruh continued to insist that he did not remember what had taken place on July 1, as he did at trial.
He was initially booked on $200,000 bail. He did not have a good record while in jail, and faced additional charges, such as obstructing police and violating jail rules two or more times, a case still pending in county court, and a battery charge, what would have been a third-degree felony, though the charge was dismissed.