Assault of transgender Oxford man at Preble campground under investigation

The investigation of an alleged assault of a transgender Oxford resident at a Preble County campground where his family has camped for years has been turned over to the county prosecutors to determine if charges are warranted, according to the Preble County Sheriff’s Office.

Noah Ruiz, who was born female but identifies as male, had spent the Independence Day weekend with his mother, sister and extended family at Cross’s Campground on U.S. 127 near Camden when he was assaulted while using the women’s restroom, according to his mother, Jennifer Ruiz.

Jennifer Ruiz lives in Camden and 20-year-old Noah now lives in Oxford. She said over the years the family has had a permanent camper at Cross’s.

“Noah actually transitioned at that campground. He was 12 years old when we started going. He was already wearing the boys clothes, so we asked them which restroom they preferred Noah to use and (Rick Cross, the owner) said if you have female parts, I prefer him to use the female restroom,” Jennifer Ruiz said. “Used the restroom since the age of 12 without an incident.”

That was until the night of July 3 when he said men came into the restroom while he was there with his girlfriend, confronted him and made homophobic slurs. A crowd gathered and Noah Ruiz was hit several times, according to his mother.

The Preble County Sheriff’s Office was called about 9:45 p.m., according to the sheriff’s office report.

“By the time they got there, my child was going crazy pretty much. He was running around. He wouldn’t listen to anybody,” Rick Cross was trying to get him out of there because there were 80 people around him,” Jennifer Ruiz said. “He (Noah) was very upset. He got hit so many times. My child had drank some. I am not saying he was completely (without fault).”

The mother said Noah and his girlfriend were in the restroom when a woman came in, saw him there, then left and the men returned, “grabbing him as he was coming out of the bathroom.”

“He was trying to tell them I am in the right restroom, I have these body parts,” Jennifer Ruiz said.

She said many, including her son, had been consuming alcohol and the campground was crowded due to the holiday weekend.

The owner tried to explain to the crowd and get Noah into a car away from the situation, but it just escalated, with Noah also being uncooperative.

“They kept swinging and trying to hit him and my child kept falling to the ground and jumping back up and going back into the crowd because he had family in the crowd the they were getting lashed at too,” she said. The mother had left the campground before the incident, but has seen several videos from those who were there.

According to the sheriff’s office report, deputies had a difficult time getting Noah to cooperate at the scene and he told them to take off their badge and he would fight them.

“He was acting unruly,” Jennifer Ruiz said. “And he will take the unruly charge. But I feel the people who started this should also be held accountable. This was a hate crime,” she said. “Yes, he had been drinking, but they were leaving. He would have went to the restroom, walked out, got in his designated car and left and gone home if he hadn’t been attacked.”

Selena (Noah) Ruiz is charged with obstructing official business and disorderly conduct, both misdemeanors, according to Eaton Municipal Court records.

The sheriff’s office report contains statements from many present. Officers who responded said Noah Ruiz was “belligerent” and cursing. He resisted arrest, trying to kick out the windows of the cruiser, and would not give officer identification.

According to deputies, Noah Ruiz continued to resist at the jail in Eaton and a female officer was scratched while trying to pat down the prisoner.

Noah Ruiz returned to the sheriff’s office on July 5 to report the assault, according to the report.

In the statement, Noah Ruiz told detectives the crowd of men had shoved, choked and hit him in the back of the head.

Several people interviewed said they saw Noah Ruiz shoved and hit during the incident as the crowd gathered, and that people were yelling out homophobic slurs.

Preble County Sheriff Mike Simpson said, “the investigation is currently at the Prosecutor’s Office for review and determination of any charges to be filed.”

He declined further comment.

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