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Ex-Deputy, Under Investigation, Kills Himself

11-30-2007 Virginia:

A former Fairfax County sheriff's deputy who was being investigated for allegedly molesting a 12-year-old boy shot and killed himself in Herndon on Tuesday, one day after police searched his home.

David L. Ruel, 42, had been a Fairfax deputy for 19 years and was assigned to the county's code enforcement task force, Fairfax Sheriff's Lt. Basilio Cachuela said. Ruel retired in October, in a move apparently unrelated to the sex investigation, and had been working as a security specialist at Herndon High School for a month, a schools spokesman said.

On Nov. 15, an 18-year-old man told Fairfax police that he had been repeatedly sexually assaulted by Ruel beginning sometime in 2001 and continuing for about 18 months, according to a search warrant affidavit filed yesterday. The man reported that when he was 12 years old, Ruel sexually abused him on numerous occasions, supplied him with alcohol and photographed him while naked, the affidavit by Detective Richard L. Mullins states.

Police obtained a search warrant for Ruel's apartment and storage unit on Astoria Circle in Herndon on Monday afternoon and searched them for two hours, court records show. Computers and many other items were seized.

On Tuesday, police obtained more search warrants. When officers went back to Astoria Circle, Ruel was found dead on a nearby athletic field, Mullins wrote. Ruel died of an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound, Fairfax police officer Don Gotthardt said.

Ruel was the second Fairfax deputy to be investigated for sex crimes this month. On Nov. 8, Deputy Robert A. Romero Jr. was arrested after federal agents discovered more than 1,000 images of child pornography on his home computer.

Romero resigned the day of his arrest.

Fairfax Sheriff Stan G. Barry said the two cases were unrelated. "It's unfortunate that they came so close together," Barry said. "It's unfortunate they happened at all."

Barry said that the allegations against Ruel are "obviously very serious charges" and that he hoped the police would continue to investigate the case to determine whether the allegations are factual. Gotthardt said the investigation will proceed despite Ruel's suicide. ..more.. by Tom Jackman, Washington Post Staff Writer

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