FIU professor accused of sexually assaulting housekeeper in Fort Myers home

Woman says she became disoriented after drinking beverage

By Amanda Batchelor - Senior Digital Editor

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - A professor at Florida International University was arrested Thursday after sexually assaulting a woman whom he had hired to clean his home in Fort Myers, authorities said.

David Ralston, 69, was arrested after being found at a Days Inn in Fort Lauderdale.

"We are aware that FIU business professor David Ralston has been arrested this morning," FIU spokeswoman Dianne Fernandez said in a statement. "He was last at the university at the conclusion of the spring semester and has no summer assignment."

According to the U.S. Marshals Service, Ralston offered the woman, whom he hired on Craigslist, a drink on April 29.

The victim told police that she became disoriented after about 30 minutes and suspected she had been drugged.

She said she passed out for a period of time and claims that Ralston sexually assaulted her against her will while she was unconscious.

Authorities said the woman attempted to push Ralston away once she regained consciousness, but was unsuccessful.

She was later found by her husband passed out in the driveway of Ralston's home and was taken to her house, authorities said.

Lee County sheriff's detectives obtained a search warrant on May 1 and found a video from Ralston's home security system that captured the sexual assault, deputies said.

Detectives said they spoke to Ralston and his attorney on the phone in an attempt to get Ralston to surrender to Lee County sheriff's officials, but he refused on multiple occasions. 

U.S. marshals and Lee County sheriff's deputies from Fort Myers traveled to Weston to conduct surveillance on Ralston's home, but he never showed up.

Detectives eventually found him at the Days Inn and said he will be extradited to Lee County in the coming weeks.

He faces a charge of sexual battery on a helpless victim.

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