NJ city pays $150K to end sex harassment lawsuit against disgraced police chief
PERTH AMBOY — This Middlesex County city has paid $150,000 to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit against its disgraced former police chief.
The settlement reached in September ends a 2015 lawsuit filed by Police Department employee Nalda Capo, who accused then Police Chief Benjamin Ruiz of leering and inappropriately touching her — and then denying her promotions after she rebuffed his sexual advances.
The lawsuit was one of many troubles for the top cop.
Ruiz had been suspended two years ago and later was fired after he was charged with theft for having the municipal garage work on personal vehicles belonging to him and his friend.
Ruiz, however, was acquitted in September by a Union County jury.
Ruiz's legal troubles mounted earlier this year when he was arrested again and charged with trespassing and impersonating a police officer.
In her lawsuit, Capo had claimed she was often repulsed by Ruiz and tried to avoid him.
She accused him of staring at her breasts while making innaprorpiate comments, including:
"Start dressing up, get your nails and hair done."
"Wow, you look very nice' today; nice shoes..."
In 2010, Ruiz allegedly came into her office and left her a note that said her job was to "take care of PAPS" — a nickname for Ruiz — and to haver her nails and hair done weekly.
Capo also accused Ruiz of rubbing her neck and shoulders on several occassions and even once kissing her neck.
In aggreeing to settle the lawsuit, city officials did not admit to any wrongdoing.
Capo was represented by attorney Stehen Klausner of Manville.
Sergio Bichao is deputy digital editor at New Jersey 101.5. Send him news tips: Call 609-438-1015 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.