Man found guilty on 73 sex counts

YOUNGSTOWN — A jury found Dustin Ruiter guilty of all 73 counts for raping two girls and sexually assaulting a third girl. He will be sentenced in about two months.

The jury of nine men and three women deliberated more than four hours starting Thursday afternoon and ending about 11:45 a.m. Friday before reaching a decision. He was found guilty of 33 counts of rape. Each count could bring a penalty of about 10 years in prison.

Ruiter, 46, whose last known address was on South Lakeview Avenue on Youngstown’s West Side, was accused of raping one girl from December 2018 to June of 2019 when she was about 15. Ruiter also has an address on Candace Avenue Southeast in Warren. He has been in the Mahoning County jail nearly two years.

Of the 33 counts of rape, 21 of them involved the rape of the first girl to testify, the oldest of the three. The other 12 counts involved the rape of a girl a year or two younger. Ruiter also was convicted of 33 counts of sexual battery, 21 of them involving the oldest girl and 12 involving a younger girl.

The rape charges are all first-degree felonies.

Ruiter also was convicted of six counts of gross sexual imposition.

Ruiter had been on trial all week in the courtroom of Judge Anthony D’Apolito of Mahoning County Common Pleas Court. The oldest of the three victims testified Tuesday she disclosed the rapes to a woman who owned an Austintown thrift store where the girl volunteered.

“I trusted (the store owner) because something needed to be done because (the rapes) kept going and going and going,” the girl testified.

The day she disclosed the offenses, she did not bathe and did not change her underwear from the previous day so she could preserve evidence, she testified. The DNA recovered indicated it came from Ruiter, a scientist from the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation testified.

During cross examination by attorney Bradley Olsen, who represents Ruiter, the girl said she did not report the abuse earlier because she did not have confidence agencies that investigate child abuse would believe her.

Caitlyn Andrews, assistant county prosecutor, said Ruiter “committed wicked and disgusting crimes. He sexually abused (the girls) over a period of months.”


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