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East County News Service

May 21, 2023  (Santee) – Jose  Lawrence Ruvalcaba, 29, is in custody for allegedly groping a 12-year-old girl on May 18.

A 12-year-old student from Chett F. Harritt School was walking towards  Big Rock Park on Arlette Street on May 18 shortly before 4 p.m. when a man approached her and inappropriately touched her chest, says Lieutenant Anthony O’Boyle with the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department.

According to O’Boyle, a friend who was with the victim tried to intervene by pushing away the suspect. He took off on an electric black and gray scooter. 

An employee at the Santee Teen Center, which is also located at Big Rock Park, called the Sheriff's Department on Friday, May 19 just before 6:30 p.m. when he saw a man who matched the all-black clothing description of the suspect and his scooter.

Deputies with the Santee Sheriff's Station caught up to the suspect near the intersection of Prospect Avenue and Ellsworth Circle. The man matched the description of a suspect who was captured in surveillance video following the incident.

Ruvalcaba  was arrested on May 20 and was booked into San Diego Central Jail on one felony count of lewd and lascivious act on a child under 14 years old with force. He is being held on $250,000 bail.

“We thank the public and the media for spreading awareness on this case and being on lookout for the suspect,” Lt. O’Doyle says.

As summer break approaches, it's likely children will be spending more time outdoors. Here are a few tips parents can discuss with their children so they can stay safe in and out of school.  

  • Use the buddy system and avoid walking alone.
  • Parents should plan, map out and practice safe routes with children before they head out on their own.
  • Teach your children not to talk to strangers. 
  • Remind children to stay off cell phones. They should be able to hear their surroundings when walking to school or a bus stop.
  • Trust your instincts. If you feel you are being followed or something is not right, feels uncomfortable, notice strange behavior, ask for help immediately.
  • If a stranger grabs you, drop to the ground, kick, hit, bite or scream. Make a scene and do whatever it takes to get the attention of others who can help you.
  • Go to a trusted adult, a teacher, coach, parent, older sibling or law enforcement for help and report the incident immediately.


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