WINNIPEG — WARNING: This story contains graphic details that may be disturbing to some readers.
The trial for Winnipeg firefighter and martial arts instructor Manuel Ruiz continued Friday morning with a second woman taking the stand.
She told the court she was in an on-and-off relationship with Ruiz, which started out mainly positive in 2003, and then she testified, “everything changed.”
Ruiz was arrested and charged in September 2017. His Manitoba Court of Queen’s Bench trial is being heard by Justice Joan McKelvey and is dealing with several offences including sexual assault, uttering threats, forcible entry, and forcible confinement. He’s also charged with luring a child under 18, obtaining sexual services for consideration from someone under 18 and procuring.
None of the allegations have been proven in court and Ruiz is presumed innocent.
The woman, who cannot be identified and is now 35, told the court her relationship with Ruiz lasted until 2009. She testified on one occasion during the relationship, Ruiz asked her to have sex with three other men at his Sherbrook Street jiu-jitsu studio after she and Ruiz had sex in a back room at the club.
“Manuel said I was supposed to have sex with them,” the woman testified. “I did. I didn’t want to. I was scared, so I did.”
“He said ‘you’ll do it if you love me.’”
The woman told the court Ruiz gave her $80 after she had sex with the other men. The woman testified she went home with Ruiz to the church they lived in together on Maryland Street and he locked her in their bedroom.
“I went into the room and he locked the door behind me,” she testified. “I was in there for eight to 10 hours. I had to pee in a bowl because I couldn’t go to the bathroom.”
She testified she was locked in the bedroom a total of eight times during the relationship. The woman testified Ruiz threw dishes during an argument they had, and she moved out after telling a teacher about what was happening.
The trial heard she lived with Ruiz for about four months in 2006.
After the relationship had ended in 2009, the woman testified she was visiting Ruiz at the church when he asked her if she wanted a massage.
“He was massaging me, turned me around, pulled down my pants, and started aggressively having sex with me,” she testified. “After he was done, he threw 40 bucks at me.”
“I didn’t talk to him ever after that.”
The woman testified she first met Ruiz outside the Sherbrook Street studio three weeks prior to her 18th birthday in November 2002. She told court she started taking free classes at the gym after she turned 18.
The woman testified during their relationship she worked part-time and attended school. She told the court when she asked Ruiz for money, he gave it to her with no expectation she would have to pay him back.
She also told the court Ruiz bought her jewelry and clothing — including a $3,000 grad dress. She testified when they lived together she didn’t have to pay rent and Ruiz bought groceries.
The woman, who told the court she has lived with a crack cocaine and alcohol addiction since she was 15, testified there was always alcohol available in their home when she lived with Ruiz.
She testified they had consensual sex during the relationship, but it later became aggressive with Ruiz putting her in jiu-jitsu holds during intercourse.
The woman testified she wasn’t okay with it, but was too scared to ask him to stop.
During cross-examination, defence lawyer Matt Gould challenged the woman’s testimony about being locked in the room.
“Isn’t it true that you were never locked in that room by Manuel Ruiz?” Gould asked the woman.
“No,” she testified. “I was locked in that room.”
Gould also questioned the woman about drug use. She testified her memory was foggy during a preliminary inquiry in court in 2019 and acknowledged she made one false statement at that time about Ruiz’s brother, while under oath.
She apologized to the court for saying it, noting she’s been off drugs since September and will soon begin addictions treatment.
The trial continues Monday.
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