FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. – A Florida International University professor has been arrested, the U.S. Marshal Service said, Thursday.
He was arrested Thursday at the Days Inn Hotel in Fort Lauderdale by members of the U.S. Marshals Florida Regional Fugitive Task Force and Lee County Sheriff’s deputies assigned to the U.S. Marshals task force. The marshals moved in on Ralston after, they said, he refused to surrender to authorities over the last month and a half.
“It’s obvious Mr. Ralston basically thumbed his nose at law enforcement and at these charges,” said Barry Golden of the U.S. Marshal’s Service.
According to the marshals, 69-year-old David Ralston, a management and internal business professor, allegedly assaulting a woman at his Fort Myers home while she was incoherent. He is now charged with sexual battery when a victim is helpless.
Officials said Ralston hired the woman through Craig’s List to clean his home in April. According to the Lee County Sheriff’s Office, the housekeeper was at Ralston’s home on April 29, where the professor allegedly offered the victim a drink, which the housekeeper accepted.
The victim told officials that, after 30 minutes, she felt disoriented and suspected she was drugged and passed out shortly afterwards.
“About 30 minutes, the victim became very disoriented,” said Golden, “and was almost incoherent, almost unconscious.”
Marshals said this is when Ralston is alleged to have sexually assaulted the victim on his back porch against her will. Detectives said the victim attempted to push Ralston away but was unsuccessful.
On May 1, detectives from the Lee County Sheriff’s Office retrieved a video from the professor’s home security system that captured the alleged sexual assault on the victim. “Lee County Sheriff’s obtained a search warrant and legally obtained that video showing alleged sexual assault,” said Golden.
FIU released a statement on Ralston’s status with the University: “We are aware that FIU business professor David Ralston has been arrested this morning. He was last at the University at the conclusion of the Spring Semester and has no summer assignment.”
Students asked how someone could do this.
“What makes you get to that point?” said Heather Hedges. “It’s very disheartening.”
Others were stunned a professor would do this.
“I would have never imagined one of our professors would do something like that,” said Gustavo Valdes. “That’s crazy.”
Hedges was disappointed that someone capable of this could be hired at her school.
“You trust these teachers to teach you, educate you about life in general,” said Hedges. “To hear something like that, it’s unfortunate, yet disappointing, that somebody like that could be hired in a place like this.”
Ralston is in the Broward County Jail until he can be transferred to the Lee County Sheriff’s Office.