Following his extradition from Guatemala earlier this year on a bench warrant that was issued in Mamaroneck nearly two decades ago, a 50-year-old man has pleaded guilty to a child sexual abuse charge.
Luis Ortiz was extradited in May and returned to the Mamaroneck Village Court on a bench warrant issued in 1998 when he failed to appear on two felony complaints. On Wednesday, Westchester County District Attorney Anthony Scarpino, Jr. announced that he has pleaded guilty to one count of first-degree sexual conduct against a child, a violent felony.
On Nov. 9, 1998, Ortiz’s 5-year-old victim told her mother that he had allegedly sexually abused her while she was in his home the previous weekend, Scarpino said. That same day, the victim’s mother filed a report with the Mamaroneck Police Department and Ortiz was arrested two days later and charged with first-degree sexual abuse after admitting to the claim.
The following month, on Dec. 1, during a forensic interview of Ortiz’s alleged victim, she provided police with information that indicated he had engaged in several more serious sexual assaults against her over a period of months. Scarpino said that Ortiz was then charged with course of sexual conduct against a child, for crimes that allegedly took place between March and November that year.
Ortiz was arraigned on the new charges in Mamaroneck Village Court and bail was set at $50,000, though that was reduced to $10,000 in Westchester County Court. Ortiz made bail on Dec. 10, 1999 and failed to appear at his next two scheduled court dates and a warrant was issued for his arrest.
Local police questioned Ortiz's family, but he could not be located.
According to Scarpino, on March 7, 2000, the Westchester County District Attorney’s Office requested that a Red Notice - an international alert - be issued by Interpol for Ortiz. Four months later, law enforcement received a tip that Ortiz had been spotted in El Salvador, but police could not locate the suspect. Due to his status as a citizen there, efforts to locate him were ramped up in the region.
After the case went temporarily cold, in 2012, the U.S. Marshall’s Service obtained information that Ortiz was in Guatemala living under an assumed name. The Department of State was contacted, requesting that Guatemalan authorities obtain a provisional arrest warrant, Scarpino said. The provisional arrest warrant was issued and Ortiz was apprehended in August last year by members of the Diplomatic Security Service of the State Department and U.S. Marshall’s Service.
Ortiz is scheduled to be sentenced on Nov. 28, where he will face a maximum sentence of up to 25 years in state prison.
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