JONES COUNTY, Miss. (WDAM) – A man is set to be deported after pleading guilty to fondling a child in Jones County.
According to court documents, Diego Morales Ruiz changed his stance from “not guilty” to “guilty” for the petting charge in Jones County’s Second Judicial District in Laurel on Sept. 22. This follows a mistrial in August.
In 2020, Ruiz was charged with sexually abusing a minor under the age of 16.
According to the Jones County Sheriff’s Department, Ruiz was initially charged with sexually assaulting a child for lewd purposes.
Ruiz was sentenced by Circuit Court Judge Dal Williamson to serve five years in the Mississippi Department of Corrections with 716 days to serve in full-time MDOC custody, with time served credited.
The defendant was reportedly incarcerated for 716 days and believes time should go towards his sentence.
The remainder of Ruiz’s sentence was suspended on the condition that he successfully completed three years of probation and successfully completed the Circuit Court’s community service program.
He was also ordered to register with the Sex Offender Registry wherever he resides in the United States. According to the Jones County District Attorney’s Office, registration as a sex offender would constitute deportation of Ruiz to Mexico.
Court documents indicate that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement will be notified of the defendant’s conviction for the purposes of deportation proceedings. If he has not left within three months, the defendant will begin his community service obligations.
Ruiz is also ordered to pay a total of $927.50 after being placed in any type of intensive monitoring program.
“We believe the decision made was in the best interests of all parties involved and that, given the circumstances, it is a good resolution,” Jones County District Attorney Brad Thompson said in a statement. communicated.
It is unclear whether Ruiz is now in ICE custody or has already been deported to Mexico.
This story will be updated if more information is provided.
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