El Paso School Teacher, Ricardo Ortiz Pleads Guilty to Sexual Exploitation of a Minor
(STL.News) Ricardo Ortiz, 30, a former teacher at Horizon High School in El Paso pleaded guilty today to three counts of Coercion and Enticement of a Minor and one count of Possession of a Visual Depiction Involving the Sexual Exploitation of a Minor.
According to court documents, the El Paso man began chatting with a 14-year-old on social media when the conversation quickly turned sexual in nature. Ortiz arranged to meet with the minor for a sexual encounter but when he arrived at the meeting place, Ortiz was arrested by law enforcement. Ortiz was actually speaking with an undercover FBI employee instead of a minor.
Upon further investigation it was discovered that Ortiz also engaged in sexual activities with at least three minors in the El Paso area. Agents also found child pornography on Ortiz’s electronic devices.
A sentencing date has not been set. Ortiz faces a maximum penalty of up to life in prison on each of the coercion and enticement counts and up to 20 years in prison on the possession count. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
U.S. Attorney Ashley C. Hoff of the Western District of Texas and FBI Special Agent in Charge Jeffrey R. Downey, El Paso Field Office, made the announcement.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Mallory J. Rasmussen is prosecuting the case.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and CEOS, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims.