BLAINE COUNTY, Okla. (KFOR) – A Blaine County man was arrested for sexually assaulting more than a dozen young girls in the town of Longdale, north of Canton, Oklahoma.

David Duggan, an investigator with the Blaine County Sheriff’s Office said Santiago Ruiz, 53, is a serial child molester.

Mugshot of Santiago Ruiz
Santiago Ruiz. Image courtesy Blaine County Sheriff’s Office.

“This has been going on for a long time,” said Duggan.

Investigators say they found out about the abuse after a 12-year-old girl came forward alleging lewd acts performed against her.

“Since that, we have received 15 others that are reporting the same incidents occurring to them by the same suspect.”

Duggan said some of the victims were abused as far back as 25 years ago. He said the young girl, who came forward in April, was assaulted at Ruiz’s home off Highway 58. She was reportedly staying the night with a family member of Ruiz when the assault took place. After that, others started speaking out.

“Through interviews we have confirmed eight that are willing to testify in court,” said Duggan.

A Blaine County judge raised Ruiz’s bond to $250,000 last week during his first court appearance, due to the number of victims. Many of them shared similar stories of abuse. Ruiz faces charges of facilitating sexual conduct with a minor but those charges could be upgraded.

“There are a few instances where there was actual rape involved,” said Duggan.

Neighbors in Longdale News 4 spoke to said they did not want to go on camera but said the man was popular in town and, although not connected to the area school, he was very involved in school activities.

Investigators said, with the number of victims, Ruiz could face life in prison if convicted. The investigation is still very much ongoing. He is married with children and has never been in trouble with the law before now. Duggan said his team is still working to determine if any family members know about the assaults.