Judge: Defense won't see child's confidential records in Cedar Rapids sexual abuse case

Ruben Vega, 53, set to go to trial in Linn County on March 5

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CEDAR RAPIDS — A judge this week denied a man, accused of sexually abusing a child, access to the child’s confidential medical, mental health and school records.

Sixth Judicial District Judge Ian Thornhill, in his order filed Wednesday in Linn County District Court, said Ruben Vega, 53, charged with five counts of second-degree sexual abuse, hasn’t shown a “substantial likelihood” that the girl’s confidential records would contain information that is not available from any other source.

The depositions of the girl and her mother don’t show that her records would contain information that the defense couldn’t gain from any other source, as it claimed, he noted in the ruling.

The girl, who now is 15, repeatedly said she didn’t tell anyone of the alleged sexual abuse, and the defense didn’t show that any teacher or counselor, who would be mandatory reporters of sexual abuse, had any information about this abuse, Thornhill also pointed out. The allegations of what might be in the records are “speculative and based on conjecture,” he added.

Two weeks ago, Mark Brown, Vega’s lawyer, argued the girl had changed schools multiple times and had issues with harming herself, and he argued those records could be relevant in this case.

First Assistant Linn County Attorney Nick Maybanks argued against opening the records, saying the defense has information about her mental health, which she talked about in the depositions, and she repeatedly said she didn’t tell anyone about the abuse.

A criminal complaint shows the girl told investigators that between August 2006 and August 2010, Vega sexually abused her multiple times. Authorities said the girl’s mother confronted Vega about the allegations.

“I’m a twisted man. I should just turn myself in. Am I going to prison?” the complaint says Vega told the mother.

Vega’s trial has been reset to March 5 in Linn County District Court.

If convicted, Vega faces up to 25 years in prison on each of the five counts of second-degree sexual abuse.

l Comments: (319) 398-8318; trish.mehaffey@thegazette.com

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