An East County man serving as a commissioner for the Southern Manatee Fire & Rescue District has been arrested on charges of molesting several children over the last seven years and suspended from public office.
Mark D. Ruben, 45, was arrested Jan. 26 on eight charges of sexual battery and lewd or lascivious molestation.
Gov. Rick Scott on Jan. 19 issued an executive order suspending Ruben from public office, after the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office conducted an initial investigation and forwarded its findings to the State Attorney’s Office. The State Attorney’s Office conducted its own investigation and made the subsequent arrest.
A report states that the children told investigators they were encouraged to engage with sexual activity with each other, and were subjected to sex acts at various locations.
Ruben denied the charges and one of the children, while being interviewed by investigators, recanted the story.
A report states the abuse started in 2005 and occurred as recently as July 2011.