Details emerge in police officer's sexual assault arrest

A longtime officer with the Trumbull Police Department was arrested Monday for alleged sexual assault of a teen girl who was part of the Police Explorers Program.

An alleged assault occurred at Ruscoe’s Trumbull residence, where he used his handcuffs at one point, to restrain the victim, according to court documents.

According to the arrest warrant, the victim told police that “when Officer Ruscoe began communicating with her in a sexual way she was very intimidated because of his position and she was new in the post and did not want to get him in trouble."

Ruscoe had a pattern of flirting with and befriending female cadets who attended a weeklong Explorers camp at the University of Hartford, where he was an instructor, according to the investigation. A second victim, now 17, reported meeting Ruscoe at the camp and starting a relationship with him that included inappropriate and sexual text messages.

State Police arrested William Ruscoe, 44, Monday night, and charged him with second-degree sexual assault, third-degree sexual assault and fourth-degree sexual assault. He is also charged with tampering with a witness.

Trumbull police Chief Thomas Kiely said Tuesday that Ruscoe, a 19-year member of the department, has been an adviser with the Explorer program for many years and that the charges are related to Ruscoe’s off-duty conduct with a member of the program. Ruscoe has been suspended from duty, and an internal investigation is under way to determine if he has violated any departmental policies, police Chief Thomas Kiely said Tuesday in a statement.

“I am deeply troubled and concerned by the nature of the charges that have been presented,” Kiely said. “We will make every effort to ensure that the integrity of the department and its officers is preserved as this case is investigated and that the case is handled in a fair and timely manner.”

Arrest warrant

The investigation was launched in October 2013, after a student in Tolland County, now 17, said she met Ruscoe at cadet camp and started a friendship with him in June 2012, when she was 15. The victim told State Police that he began flirting with her and asking her to send pictures of what she was wearing. She began sending him photos and he also sent photos, including some of his wife nude.

The victim stated that she also began noticing him recently flirting with a 14-year-old at camp and realized he had done the same thing to her.

In January, State Police seized Ruscoe’s cell phone to further investigate the charges. State police interviewed a second victim, now 18, who recounted alleged sexual assault by Ruscoe in Trumbull. She was also in the explorer program.

The second victim told investigators that Ruscoe began sending her friendly text messages when she was 17. He began complimenting her, telling her he loved her, and the text messages became more graphic and sexual in nature.

Last summer, Ruscoe allegedly picked her up and drove her to a scenic overlook in Stratford, where he gave her a bracelet that said, “Made with love,” according to the arrest warrant. On another occasion later that month, he picked her up late one night and told her he was drunk. The victim told police that he kissed her as they drove around town, but she moved his hand away when he tried to touch her.

Last fall, Ruscoe allegedly drove the girl home after both had worked at a Trumbull High School event. He took her to a home he had just moved out of in Trumbull. The victim told police she was afraid to go inside because she was afraid he would try something. Once inside, the victim told police, he placed his gun on the counter, while looking at her in a threatening way. He later assaulted her upstairs, despite her protests. The victim said she told Ruscoe no, “what felt like a thousand times.”

In a later conversation, Ruscoe told her he thought he could go to jail for what he did but he would kill himself before that. The victim also said Ruscoe contacted her in January and told her he was worried State Police might contact her, and that she didn’t have to talk to them.

The State Police Major Crime Squad of Troop C in Tolland handled the investigation. Ruscoe was released on a $50,000 bond. His attorney, Michael Fitzpatrick, said his client will appear in court March 5. He did not yet want to comment on the charges.

“We anticipate entering a plea of not guilty,” Fitzpatrick told The Times.