For Immediate Release
Contact: Michelle Bays
775.321.4307 (o); 775.771.6049 (c)
June 28, 2016
Washoe County District Attorney Chris Hicks has announced that a Sparks man has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for lewdness charges under new sentencing guidelines enacted during the 2015 legislature. The defendant will serve a minimum of 4 years in prison before being eligible for parole.
Benjamin Duran-Ruiz, 19 (DOB 7/5/96) from Sparks was sentenced on two counts of Lewdness with a Child Under the Age of Sixteen on Wednesday, June 23, 2016 by Washoe County District Judge Lynne Simons. Duran-Ruiz was given 10 years in prison for each count, with parole eligibility to begin after a minimum of 4 years has been served. The sentences were set by the Court to run concurrent. A special sentence of lifetime supervision as a sex-offender shall commence after Duran-Ruiz serves his term of imprisonment.
The case against Duran-Ruiz began in October, 2015 when the Sparks Police Department investigated a report of sexual abuse of a 14 year old female. The investigation determined that the victim knew Duran-Ruiz from her neighborhood and was at a house with two female friends when the defendant stopped by and asked for an aspirin. A short time later the victim was left alone with Duran-Ruiz and was subsequently sexually abused by him.
At sentencing, the victim gave a compelling statement that included telling the defendant that her words of “no” and “stop” were ignored and having felt as if she had been imprisoned by the defendant’s actions. Prosecutor Nate MacLellan argued that “this defendant needs to be sentenced to prison, not the victim. She should not feel like she is in prison because of what this man did.”
In 2015 the Nevada Legislature made changes to the sentencing guidelines of NRS 201.230 applicable to this case. Specifically, the Legislature added a category B felony to the statute for acts of lewdness involving a child aged 14 or 15, punishable by a term of 1 to 10 years in prison and a fine up to $10,000.
District Attorney Hicks stated, “Prior to this positive 2015 legislative change, this type of crime was a gross misdemeanor punishable by less than a year in jail. As shown, this new legislation affords further protections and punishment for our vulnerable victims of crime.”