Two Filipino male nurses in San Diego face trial over sexual misconduct

THREE years after discovering video footage of two Filipino male nurses performing sexual acts with each other near a 98-year-old patient, a San Diego Court ordered the two men to stand for trial.

Russell Torralba and Alfredo Ruiz, both 42, were ordered on Friday, August 9 to proceed to trial on one count of inflicting mental suffering on an elder, plus additional elder abuse charges after the family of the patient discovered that the two were engaging in oral sex and fondling each other in front of the patient.

Court records show that Torralba and Ruiz are also charged with seven and two counts, respectively, of elder abuse to six other patients in a now-closed Mira Mesa board-and-care facility owned by Torralba.

The family of the patient, who was then-98 years old, had hidden security cameras installed in their La Jolla, Calif. home prior to the arrival of Torralba and Ruiz, to protect the woman’s assets. Footage of several lewd scenes, dated March 3 and 11, 2011, were presented during the preliminary hearing.

The defendants’ lawyers insist that while the behavior was “inappropriate,” there was no evidence that the woman was neglected, suffered injuries or that she was aware of what was taking place near her.

The patient’s grandson, Eduardo Deicas, testified on Wednesday, July 30, that the woman was aware of her surroundings and could communicate without words.

“I’d get a feeling for her demeanor, or hand gestures, facial expressions,” he said.

Non-verbal hints from the patient provoked the family to review the security footage, according to the testimony presented.

San Diego Superior Court Judge Lorna Alksne said the behavior shown in the video was “shocking to the court that this conduct was being done in front of the elderly woman.”

The judge called Torralba and Ruiz “unprofessional” and “a complete disregard for the role of nurses.”

Although there were videos viewed in the court, Alksne dismissed felony charges against both men that allegedly molested the grandmother. The judge pointed out that Ruiz kissed her on the forehead while Torralba was touching him, but the “picture was obscured.”

Ruiz was accused of touching the woman’s arms while being fondled but Alksne said she does not believe the men committed a lewd act “with” the elderly woman. The judge also denied that Ruiz positioned his male organ in the woman’s hand, as initially charged.

Torralba and Ruiz are both facing six years in prison if convicted of elder abuse of the 98-year-old and other patients. They are currently free on a $200,000 bond and pleaded not guilty.

Judge Alksne ordered the two Filipino male nurses to return to court on August 21 to get a trial date.

The licenses of Torralba and Ruiz were revoked in July 2013 by the State of California, forbidding them to care for patients.

(AJPress with reports from SanDiego6, LGBT Weekly, and ABC 10 NEWS)

(LA Weekend August 16-19 Sec A pg.9)

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