A Reelsville man was arrested Wednesday on allegations of sexual battery and child molesting following the combined efforts of law enforcement and the Department of Child Protective Services.
Benjamin Ray Ortiz, 38, was formally charged Friday in Putnam Circuit Court on charges of sexual battery, a class D felony, child molesting, a class C felony.
He was also charged with being a habitual offender.
"This is one where the system worked," Putnam County Prosecutor Tim Bookwalter said.
He is being held in the Putnam County Jail on a $30,000 bond. Bookwalter said a trial may come within six months. He faces a maximum of 20 years in jail.
According to court reports, police claim Ortiz was at the home of the child's mother along with four other adults when the alleged incident took place on Sunday.
Court documents state that Ortiz told police the four other adults took turns going into a bedroom in the house as he watched television while sitting on a couch. The report states that the children in the room got up and sat on the couch next to him and he started reading a cover of a movie they were watching.
While sounding out words from the cover of the movie to the child, who is mentally disabled, court documents state Ortiz rubbed the child's back, before she pushed his hands down into her lap, making him feel uncomfortable.
According to the documents, Ortiz told police he had asked the child if she had a "crush" on him and said he had kissed her on the cheek/neck area prior to the alleged incident.
Court documents further state Ortiz later recanted the first statement to police, and in a second interview, said he kissed and "rubbed" the child, but quit, saying he knew it was wrong, but his "inhibitions" were down after smoking marijuana with with the other adults earlier that evening.
The arrest took place after a teacher of the child contacted the Putnam County office of Child Protective Services, who later talked with the child about the alleged incident, Bookwalter said.
Court documents state the child told the teacher that Ortiz had made her feel "yucky" after kissing her. The teacher promptly contacted Child Protective Services, who interviewed the child.
Child Protective Services then contacted Indiana State Police and the child's mother, requesting an interview after school, which the mother agreed to.
"This was a thorough investigation," Bookwalter said. "(Child Protective Services and Indiana State Police) did a good job."
Ortiz has a prior criminal history.
Court documents state he was arrested for child abuse and sexual assault in Colorado in 2001 and that he had been involved in a relationship with a 14-year-old while in Colorado. The two had a child.
The mother of the child was sent to prison after the child was beaten. According to court reports, Ortiz told the mother to admit to beating the child because she was the mother and would not be sent to prison.
Court reports further state Ortiz molested the couple's other child, who was around 5 years old at the time. Police say she had become the "wife" of the house.
According to court documents, Ortiz served time in prison for molesting the child.