Prosecution, defense present closing arguments for sexual abuse case

Local News

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Closing arguments finished just a short time ago for a man accused of over 70 counts of sexual abuse.

Prosecutors claim that over a seven month span, Dustin Ruiter, 46, repeatedly raped three young women.

Inside the courtroom, both sides make their final attempt to convince jurors.

Ruiter sat in court today and listened as prosecutors spoke to the jury about the different charges he faces.

“He’s supposed to shelter them from evil things in the world and instead this defendant used those girls for his own sexual gratification,” said Assistant Prosecutor Jennifer McLaughlin.

McLaughlin noted the victims all say it happened in the same house in Youngstown around the same time.

But the defense says the children lied about getting physically abused and blamed that on their past of living on the streets.

“These are kids that learned how to survive, whether that’s lie, cheat and steal,” said Bradley Olson, defense attorney for Ruiter.

The defense argues that Ruiter was strict with the kids, and because of this, two months after living with the defendant, they claimed physical abuse. But the case was closed for lack of evidence.

“This was an attempt, an attempt to get out of a circumstance that she didn’t want,” Olson said.

After that, there were more reports of the kids being physically mistreated. Prosecutors said the sexual abuse started after that.

“Why would they think anyone would help them?” McLaughlin said. “They never had before and they’ve been trying to tell somebody that things weren’t right in this home, since practically the month they got there.”

The prosecution argues that all three girls were sexually assaulted multiple times. The defense says there was no evidence.

“Thirty-seven times a month, an attempted sexual assault and not a mark on them,” Olson said.

“In fact, only 8 to 10 percent of sexual assault cases have any injuries,” McLaughlin said.

The jury started to deliberate earlier today, and they will return tomorrow.

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