Tyler man accused of sexually assaulting dozens of teenage girls likely won’t face jury until the spring

Crime & Public Safety

24-year-old Luis Ortiz appearing before Judge Austin Jackson for a status hearing on July 16, 2021. He is charged with six sex-related crimes involving minors.

TYLER, Texas (KETK) – A Tyler man who prosecutors say may have sexually assaulted dozens of teenage girls in the area will likely not have his day in court until at least April of next year.

24-year-old Luis Ortiz is facing six different charges of sexual misconduct, including aggravated child sexual assault and soliciting a child online. He faces up to life in prison, if convicted.

His charges stem from an investigation when he allegedly posed as a teenager online and would send graphic messages to minors on social media. At a hearing last August, Smith County prosecutors said they were investigating 66 potential victims.

At Friday’s status hearing, defense attorney Matt Bingham said that he was told by prosecutors that there was still another hard drive worth of data to examine and it would take a significant amount of time. He also said that prosecutors had recently made a plea offer, but did not say for how long.

114th District Judge Austin Jackson commented on the fact that the case was already 15 months old since Ortiz’s arrest and half-joked if they could at least get a tentative trial date on the docket to give lawyers a goal to work toward.

“If there’s a chance we end up at trial, can we go ahead and give it a date sometime in the next decade?”

Judge Austin Reeves Jackson

Both sides agreed they would meet again on September 17 and set a potential trial to begin April 18, 2022.

An arrest warrant from last year says that Ortiz allegedly began direct messaging the victim on Instagram in December of 2019 and made multiple sexual advances, including sending graphic videos of himself.

The warrant states Ortiz told the victim that he was 17 and remarked how he could go to jail because of their encounter.

The victim told police she met Ortiz around 2 a.m. on March 11, 2020, in his truck near her home. Phone messages were discovered two days later by the victim’s parents who went to the police.

According to the warrant, detectives found Ortiz has “a history of solicitation of young girls between the age of 12 and 14 for sexual intercourse utilizing Snapchat, Instagram, TikTok, and Facebook.”

On April 8, investigators interviewed Ortiz at his home, where he confessed to the crimes and said he had met three girls in person. He also said that he “thought he got away from it by deleting his social media accounts.”

Police wrote in the warrant that he allegedly deleted the accounts during the 30-minute interval between them requesting the interview and detectives arriving at his doorstep.

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