Accused abuser wants girl's confidential records

Ruben Vega accused in Linn County of sexually abusing young girl

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CEDAR RAPIDS — The attorney for a man charged with sexually abusing a girl when she was between the ages 5 and 9 asked a judge Wednesday to let him see the girl’s confidential medical, mental health and school records.

Mark Brown, an attorney for Ruben Vega, 53, who faces five counts of second-degree sexual abuse, argued the girl and her mother in depositions said the girl had changed schools three or four times and that the girl had issues with harming herself and has gone through counseling. Brown argued the defense should have access to those records because they could be relevant.

A criminal complaint shows the girl, now 15, told investigators that between August 2006 and August 2010, Vega sexually abused her multiple times. Authorities said the girl’s mother had 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 her.

Brown told 6th Judicial District Judge Ian Thornhill that it only made sense the girl would have told someone, such as a counselor, about the alleged abuse. The records could explain more, he said.

First Assistant Linn County Attorney Nick Maybanks argued against opening her records, saying the defense asked the girl in the deposition about her mental health and asked her more than once if she told anyone about Vega sexually abusing her — and she said she didn’t.

In his motion, Maybanks argued that background gathered by officials at the St. Luke’s Child Protection Center, who interviewed her, included a medical report with “potentially pertinent” facts that Brown could access.

Maybanks also pointed out in the hearing that Brown may think it makes sense the girl would have told someone about the abuse, but that goes against research conducted on children who are sexually abused.

Brown also asked the court to reset the trial, which was to start Dec. 11 in Linn County District Court. He said he needed more time to have experts review the girl’s depositions and do additional depositions.

Thornhill said he would review the deposition transcripts and provide a written ruling later on the confidential records, but said he was granting the defense’s request to delay the trial.

It tentatively will be set in late February or early March, he said.

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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