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Thursday, November 12, 2009                                                                                       View Comments

Pastor pleas guilty to sexual assault charge

A pastor charged in connection with the sexual assault of a teenage girl has entered a guilty plea in the case.

Timothy Allen Ortiz, 44, Midland, appeared before Midland County Circuit Court Judge Jonathan E. Lauderbach late this morning to enter the plea.

According to court papers, Ortiz entered the plea to a count of third-degree criminal sexual conduct-incest, a charge that was added after he was arraigned. In return for the plea, the original charge of third-degree criminal sexual conduct involving force or coercion will be dismissed. Each of the felony charges is punishable by up to 15 years in prison.

Ortiz was arrested Sept. 21 at his home by Midland County Sheriff's deputies, and was arraigned the next day by Midland County District Court Judge John H. Hart, who set bond at $200,000 cash. Ortiz last month waived a preliminary exam in the case, which is a hearing for a judge to decide if a crime was committed and if there is probable cause to believe it was committed by the defendant.

The Midland County Prosecutor’s Office confirmed the victim is a 17-year-old girl.

Ortiz is being represented by Midland attorney Scott Isles.

Since 2000, Ortiz had served as the pastor of the Father’s Heart Ministries, 4606 James Savage Road.

Sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 14.