We recently reported about sexual offender, Gabriel Medrano, working at KTSM and the reports filed with the station’s human resources department (HR) about three female employees feeling uncomfortable working with him. Rubén Olague, who reported about the controversy on the record to us, was fired by KTSM the week after our report was published. We have also learned that Roxy Van Ruiten, who filed a complaint about Medrano with the station’s HR department, was put on a Performance Improvement Plan the day after our report was published. Although we did not name Van Ruiten by name in our original report, many of the details in our report are related to her.
Some of the comments we received after our report was published argued that Medrano had served his sentence and the conviction against him was almost 25 years ago. KTSM’s position has been that Medrano completed his sentence and as a ten-year veteran of the station has done nothing to merit termination. However, unlike almost all other criminal offenses when their sentences imposed by the courts are completed, criminal offenders are generally given back their full civil rights and are no longer under the supervision of the court system. This is not true for sexual offenders in most jurisdictions.
Has Medrano Served His Sentence?
Unlike a drug offense or a bank robbery conviction, there are sexual offender laws in Texas that do not release a sexual offender from the court’s jurisdiction nor are their rights fully restored. In most criminal offenses, a convicted offender is sentenced, serves their prison time, if any, and then serves their probation and makes restitution as ordered by the courts.
After those conditions are met, a criminal offender is often released from the court’s jurisdiction and their obligations to the courts are over.
In the case of Medrano, his conviction as a sexual offender remains active and he remains under the supervision of the legal system, both at the federal level and at the state level. In the case of Medrano, he remains under the supervision for the rest of his life.
As a convicted sexual offender, Medrano must report his home address to state officials at least annually and must comply with certain restrictions, including where he can live. Not only is Medrano listed in the Texas Public Sex Offender Website, as required by law, but he is also listed in the Department of Justice’s National Sex Offender Public Website.
Because Medrano must meet certain court-mandated requirements, his sentence remains active and he had not been released by the court system to return to society with his rights fully restored. Medrano is under probation for the rest of his life.
In the case of KTSM, it appears that instead addressing the concerns expressed by some KTSM employees, the management has chosen to silence employees who have expressed discomfort working alongside Medrano. One employee was terminated and another was put on probation after our story ran.
Roxy Van Ruiten
Roxy Van Ruiten works at KTSM as the morning forecaster. According to her LinkedIn profile, she has been at KTSM since February 2021. Previously she was an intern at KVIA. Van Ruiten filed a complaint with KTSM’s Human Resources Department about Medrano making her and other coworkers uncomfortable, according to Olague.
The day after our reporting on Medrano and how he made at least three female employees uncomfortable, Van Ruiten was put on a Performance Improvement Plan by KTSM management. According to the plan, Van Ruiten must report to her manager, Chris Babcock on September 15, September 22, September 29 and October 6 “to discuss” her “progress.” The notification states that should Van Ruiten “fail to make the required improvement” outlined in the notice, she “will be terminated at the end of the plan.” The notification also stated that KTSM can terminate her before if “she is not making sufficient progress.”
The three items listed in her performance notification are to be “On Time for AM Shift,” which is four in the morning. The second item is that she must prepare weather material for use in the news cast at least “30 minutes prior to air,” and the last item is that she “must write/enter a script for weather hits.”
Van Ruiten signed her Performance Improvement Plan, the day after our report was published.
Rubén Olague told El Paso News that soon after Van Ruiten was put on notice, she terminated communicating with Olague. Olague told us that Van Ruiten, stopped talking to him after Jasmine Perry and Sofia Lopez retaliated against her. Van Ruiten, told Olague that “she didn’t want to be part of it anymore.” Perry, who is the multimedia reporter at KTSM, was the individual that tracked down Medrano’s criminal past and then passed it on to Van Ruiten.
After Perry gave the document to Van Ruiten, Van Ruiten then went to the courthouse to corroborate the allegations against Medrano. Van Ruiten purchased the court documents and shared them with Olague. Van Ruiten also filed a complaint against Medrano with the station’s human resources department. Among the complaints made against Medrano included Sofia Lopez, an editor at KTSM. Lopez complained to Van Ruiten that Medrano had asked her to address him as “daddy.”
All three KTSM female employees expressed discomfort working with Medrano, according to Olague.
We sent a text message to Van Ruiten yesterday asking for her comments about her performance evaluation and as of press time she has not responded to our request. Should Van Ruiten respond after our report, we will update it to include it here.
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Rubén Olague, who was terminated from KTSM shortly after our report, told us that Van Ruiten asked him, on behalf of Lopez and Perry, to help them address their discomfort in working with Medrano. Olague and Van Ruiten, and possibly other KTSM employees filed complaints with HR and spoke to management about Medrano.
In response to the complaints against Medrano, KTSM officials terminated Olague after he went on the record to expose the failures of KTSM officials to address the problem of a sexual offender working at the station making other employees uncomfortable at the workplace.
Olague told us that when KTSM failed to rectify the problems that Medrano’s employment at KTSM was causing coworkers, he told us he informed David Candelaria, the general manager at KTSM, that he could no longer work alongside Medrano. Olague told us that Medrano had confronted him at the studio, asking “why are you not talking to me?” Olague told us he was “uncomfortable with Medrano’s presence” after the incident at the studio.
Rather than reassigning Medrano or Olague to work in different shifts, KTSM officials notified Olague that KTSM “is safe, free from any hazards that are ‘likely’ to cause harm” and that Olague was expected to report to work alongside Medrano. The email ordering Olague to report to work alongside Medrano was sent the day after our report was published.
Olague refused to report to work for four days and was terminated by KTSM on September 14, via email. The email was signed by Chris Babcock.
Who Is Rubén Olague?
Olague holds a Doctor of Education degree from Texas A&M University – Kingsville. He is a published author writing about interdisciplinary applications to change political postures in bilingual education. Olague has also published papers on the inter and intra species communication protocols and their repercussions on how scientists understand “multilingual” microbiological entities. Olague is now writing a book on the antecedents of the Walmart massacre.
Olague is also a member of the Screen Actors Guild of America and has film and television credits in seven films, including Armageddon and Blow. Olague speaks four languages and has been in the news business since 1989 working at such news outlets as CNN, Liberman Broadcasting, Estrella Media, Univision and most recently KTSM.
We asked Olague what motivated him to come forward about the situation at KTSM. Olague told us via email that “the moment I came into possession of that man’s criminal background, the first thing I thought of was all the pictures of our children in the newsroom.” He added that “it occurred to me they were seen with different eyes” by Medrano. Olague wrote that child predators “never overcome it; that is just a scientific fact,” he wrote that a friend had told him. Olague continued “then I thought of the students who repeatedly came in and out of the KTSM building without knowing there was a man once convicted of child pornography” working there.
Olague previously told us that he felt it important that parents are informed that their children may come in contact with a child predator when visiting KTSM.
As to why he came forward, Olague responded, “how could I stay silent?” He added that “Nexstar made a mistake with him [Medrano], but so much more with me.” Olague wrote that what bothers him more was KTSM management “directing Human Resources to ask us to stay silent,” it “was a knife in my chest.”
Olague continued, “for a company that made over $5B in 2022, this is intolerable,” adding that “I hope El Pasoans who do business with KTSM realize Nexstar made this decision in spite of the fact there were potential strategies they could have executed.” Olague added that “I don’t care what company makes what amount of money, if we cease to protect our youth we have no business doing business – especially in a newsroom – purportedly a hub of truth.”
He concluded with, “I am sure none of my mentors at the doctorate level could have foreseen this outcome,” that “a company opting to keep a sex offender over a doctor in education should be beyond comprehension, by any measure.” Olague closed with “imagine a university saying something like: ‘candidates, you can finish your doctoral studies here, but beware, there is no guarantee a sex offender will not be selected over you’.”