A 21-year-old Hailey man was sentenced Monday to the Idaho Department of Correction “rider program” for inappropriate touching and groping a 15-year-old girl.
Sentence for Jose Luis Ruiz-Santiago was pronounced by Judge Robert Elgee in Blaine County 5th District Court. Ruiz-Santiago was also given a six-year suspended prison sentence and ordered to pay a total of about $2,500 for a fine, court costs and the cost of a psychosexual evaluation.
Ruiz-Santiago was originally charged with the felony crimes of sexual abuse of a child under 16 and “battery with intent to commit a serious felony.” However, in a plea agreement with the Blaine County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, he pleaded guilty in September to felony injury to a child, a conviction that does not require that he register as a sex offender.
“If you say, ‘I didn’t do this, I didn’t do that,’ they might just say he’s not capable of treatment.”
Judge Robert J. Elgee
Fifth District Court
Nonetheless, since the original crime was a sex offense, Elgee ordered that Ruiz-Santiago undergo sexual-offender treatment. The rider program, where sentences are usually served at the North Idaho Correctional Institution in Cottenwood, allows the Idaho Department of Correction to hold a convicted felon for up to a year for rehabilitation.
Elgee warned Ruiz-Santiago that if rehabilitation is deemed to be failing, the Department of Correction can put him in prison instead.
“When you go to treatment, pay attention and listen and admit to whatever you did,” Elgee said. “If you say, ‘I didn’t do this, I didn’t do that,’ they might just say he’s not capable of treatment.”
Ruiz-Santiago, who was free on $15,000 bond, was taken into custody at the conclusion of the hearing.
The case was investigated by Hailey police. According to court records, Ruiz-Santiago was charged with the crimes in April for inappropriately touching or groping the girl on several occasions.
Terry Smith: firstname.lastname@example.org