Lake Como man sentenced on sex charge

JIM ORTIZ

BY STACI WILSON

A Lake Como man convicted by a Susquehanna County jury in November for sexually assaulting a minor in Gibson Twp. was sentenced Thursday to serve nine – 60 months in prison.

Jim Thompson Ortiz, 38, was convicted by a jury on two indecent assault charges and one corruption of minors charge. For sentencing purposes, the assault charges were merged into one.

Ortiz received nine-60 months sentences on both counts which will run concurrent.

Prior to sentencing, defense attorney Richard Quinton Hark asked the court to acquit Ortiz of the guilty charges.

He argued date ranges given by the victim did not add up and that Ortiz’s attorney at trial was ineffective and asked that the sentencing not move forward.

District Attorney Jason Legg said that during the case it was never disputed a range of dates were tied to the allegations. According to court documents, the assaults occurred over a 10 year time period, from 1996-2006.

“It boiled down to who the jury believed,” Legg said. “And the jury believed the victim.”

Ortiz brought about 10 supporters to court with him, and four offered testimony on his behalf, President Judge Kenneth Seamans denied Ortiz’s motion requesting a release on bail pending resolution of his post-sentence motions.

On the stand, Ortiz’s supporters described him as a hardworking, family man who is responsible and trustworthy.

The victim – now in her early twenties – also took the stand. She agreed with the defense witnesses who described Ortiz as a “caring man.”

“Everything they said was true until he chose to take that away from me,” she said.

The woman told the court that because of the abuse she wasn’t able to trust people and that it had “changed her life forever.”

District Attorney Jason Legg said the victim’s statement provided a clear detail of how sexual abuse creates “spiritual and emotional scars children carry with them.”

Legg said, “We saw what this abuse did to her; how it changed her life; and how it still changes her life.”

“The pain (Ortiz’s) family feels today pales in comparison to what the victim lives with everyday,” Legg said. “We’re going to move on to the next case and the case after that, but it never changes for her.”