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Bail Set at $1.6 Million for Day-Care Provider Accused of Abuse

A Santa Maria judge on Friday set bail at $1.6 million for a Santa Maria day-care provider charged with child torture and endangerment .

Georgina Imelda Ruiz, 50, who operated Gina’s Daycare on Bungalow Drive in Santa Maria, entered a not-guilty plea during her arraignment Friday morning in Santa Barbara County Superior Court.

She had not been released on bail as of Friday night.

Ruiz — originally identified as Georgina Imelda Ruiz-Bojorquez — has hired private attorneys, Michael Clayton and Billy Redell, to represent her.

She previously was represented by the Santa Barbara County Public Defender’s Office.

Bail initially was set at $500,000, but was revoked two days after her Feb. 10 arrest because police officers expressed concern she intended to flee the country.

Clayton contended his client has a constitutional right to bail, and that it could only be withheld based on three factors not involved in this case.

“By the Constitution, you have to set bail in this case, judge,” Clayton told Judge Gustavo Lavayen.

Ruiz has been in the community for 30 years, Clayton said, and has family in the area.

Georgina Imelda Ruiz

“She’s not going to be a flight risk,” he added. "She's not going to leave."

The allegations occurred more than 10 years ago, Clayton noted.

In addition, his client has taken care of hundreds of kids through years, and the complaints came from a few, Clayton said.

“Every person you allow out on bail has a chance to be a flight risk,” he added..

Lavayen set bail of $750,000 each for two counts of child torture plus $100,000 for the third count she faces.

The charges are for crimes against three children — two girls and a boy, authorities said.

The incidents occurred between 1998 and 2005, and involved very young children, police said.

The judge also required Ruiz to be fitted with electronic-monitoring equipment and ordered her to stay away from places where children gather.

The case will return to court March 25 to set a date for the preliminary hearing.

Ruiz had a California Department of Social Services license to operate a family child-care home facility with a capacity of 14 since Aug. 1, 2009. Last year, she was issued four citations following investigations, the state said.

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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