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'I want justice': Woman speaks out after Westminster counselor candidate accused of sexual assault

Trinidad Ruiz, 48, is charged with aggravated sexual assault on a client by a psychotherapist.
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Posted at 3:04 PM, Mar 19, 2024
and last updated 2024-03-20 12:31:37-04

WESTMINSTER, Colo. — A woman is warning others after she was allegedly sexually assaulted by a Westminster counselor candidate during a psychotherapy session.

Trinidad Ruiz, 48, was arrested in January and charged with aggravated sexual assault on a client by a psychotherapist. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for May 13.

The Westminster Police Department said the investigation began on May 12, 2023. The department said the alleged victim contacted a "private, unlicensed, alternative therapist to help her deal with previous trauma" and was reportedly sexually assaulted during a session.

The victim, who Denver7 is identifying as N.S., said the aftermath following the alleged assault has been devastating.

"I'm dealing with depression. I'm dealing with isolation," she said. "I don't wish this on anybody."

N.S. said she sought professional help after years of grief.

"During COVID-19, I lost my partner to suicide," she said. "It was a really difficult time, and I found myself spiraling."

N.S. did research online and found that therapy using psilocybin from magic mushrooms could help her process the emotional pain. A friend told her about Ruiz.

According to the Colorado Department of Regulatory Authorities, Ruiz is a licensed professional counselor candidate. The designation is for those seeking to become a licensed professional counselor.

"Trinidad prefers not to use text messages," N.S. said. "He uses messaging software that is just highly confidential. That's the way to communicate with him. So it's all very secretive."

'I want justice': Woman speaks out after Westminster counselor candidate accused of sexual assault

N.S. said she went to his house for treatment on May 5, 2023.

"I was given basically a cereal bowl, a large cereal bowl, of mushrooms," she said. "Tasted like dirt."

According to the police report, Ruiz offered N.S. nearly a dozen mushrooms because she told him that 12 was her lucky number. N.S. said she didn't realize how high of a dose that would be.

"I was afraid," N.S. said. "I didn't know what this would feel like. I had never done this before."

N.S. said Ruiz interacted with her throughout the session.

"He embodied my partner— my deceased partner. He talked on his behalf," N.S. said. "He was very hands-on in the process."

N.S. said the effect of the mushrooms quickly took over.

"I was under the influence," she said. "The drugs were already kicking in. I was hallucinating. I was hearing voices. And I then remember Trinidad sexually assaulting me. I was absolutely incapable of giving consent or stopping."

Several hours later, N.S. began to regain lucidity.

"I looked at him and I asked what happened," she said. "He then admitted to me to having sex with me without protection and said that it was for me."

That wasn't Ruiz's only revelation, according to N.S.

"The most important part that happened is that Trinidad admitted to me that there are others," she said.

N.S. was later picked up by a friend. She completed a rape kit shortly thereafter.

As of Monday evening, Ruiz's LinkedIn page identified him as a “Mental Health Therapist and Psychedelic Integration Specialist/Coach” at Holistic and Integrative Consulting PLLC. Denver7 reached out to a number identified as his, but we did not receive an answer.

"Based on the information we've received, he's continuing to meet with and treat clients who probably aren't aware of these charges and allegations currently pending in the court," said attorney Jessica Meza of Meza & Associates LLC.

Meza and attorney Rachel W. Robinson of A Ray of Justice Legal Services and Holistic Care are helping support N.S. through the Victim's Rights Act. The law was created to ensure survivors like N.S. are informed of critical stages of the justice process and treated with respect.

"The Victim Rights Act is a newer regime of rules and laws as to how people in law enforcement are to treat victims," Robinson said. "The goal is to ensure that victims are educated and empowered enough to intelligently participate in a prosecution if they so choose. And the first pillar of the Victim Rights Act is that they are to be treated with dignity, fairness, and respect."

N.S. is hopeful that her choice to share her story will empower others to share their stories as well.

"I'm here to give courage to others to step forward," she said. "I hope that my words empower them. And I promise that if and when they do come forward, they will not be alone. I want justice."

Westminster PD told Denver7 there may be other victims. Anyone with information can contact them at 303-658-4360 (opt 2). Reference case number 2023-08678.

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