A Winnipeg firefighter and martial arts teacher charged with sexual assault was the subject of three failed protection order requests — including one by a woman who feared him due to his late girlfriend’s sudden death, CBC News has learned.
“I fear for my safety because of previous violent history both physically and emotionally,” a 2006 request for protection states.
In that request for protection from Manuel Ruiz, as well as others filed in 2001 and 2010, judges denied the three women’s applications. The reasons for the judgment are unclear but Ruiz denied the allegations in each request.
In the 2006 case, he said the woman “has no reason whatsoever to fear him … The Petitioner is using the recent, and unfortunate, death of the respondent’s girlfriend as an excuse” to seek the protection order.
Ruiz, 52, was charged Friday with multiple offences, including sexual assault, sexual interference, forcible confinement and luring a child, involving three females who were 12-18 at the time. The offences date back to 2001.
Ruiz is a longtime martial arts expert who taught self-defence and other martial arts courses to Manitoba Justice sheriffs officers, police academies and Indigenous girls, both on and off reserves.
Within the last year, Ruiz was promoted to lieutenant in his position as a firefighter paramedic with the City of Winnipeg.
City officials told CBC that they’ve removed Ruiz from active duty and that they “take allegations of this nature very seriously.”
‘Leave her alone’
Melissa Nelson, 21, of Winnipeg died on March 11, 2006, after apparently falling from a four-storey balcony at a hotel in Cuba, according to a Canadian Press story. She was on vacation with Ruiz at the time, according to family.
CBC’s attempts to reach Cuban officials about the status of the investigation have gone unanswered.
Melissa was just 15 years old when she met Ruiz in 2000 through a self-defence course he was teaching at the Roseau River First Nation, according to her mother, Barb Nelson.
At the time, her mother says she tried to steer him away from her daughter.
“I called him and I told him, ‘You know, my daughter is a teen … You should leave her alone. Don’t bother my daughter,” Nelson told the CBC. “I said ‘You’re a grown man, she’s a young girl. You should leave her alone.'”