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Former Cape cop sentenced to prison for sexual assault

By Staff | Jul 12, 2016

A former Cape Coral police officer was sentenced to prison Monday after recently being found guilty of sexually assaulting a then 16-year-old girl three years ago.

Casey Manuel Ortiz, 35, received 15 years in a state prison, followed by five years of probation, according to the Lee County Clerk of Courts. On April 15, a jury found him guilty during a jury trial of two counts of sexual assault by 24 years of age older sexual battery victim 16 or 17 years of age.

Ortiz was employed by the CCPD from January 2006 to February 2014, when he was relieved of duty following an investigation by the agency into allegations brought forward by the victim’s parents.

The following month, he turned himself in on a warrant and was booked at the county jail.

Defense attorney David Brener, who represented Ortiz during the sentencing portion but not the trial, explained that the bottom line of the sentencing guidelines was a minimum of 11.5 years in prison.

“He was looking at 15 years on each count, possibly to run consecutive,” he said.

Brener said he requested from the judge a downward departure of the guidelines based on Ortiz’s character and background, as well as his high level of service to his community and country.

“She could have given him up to 30 (years),” he said.

Ortiz was an active duty U.S. Marine for four years and is currently in the Air Force Reserve. As a Cape police officer, he was part of the SWAT Team and earned numerous awards and accolades.

“Unlike many criminal defense clients, even those who have no prior record, his record was one of accomplishment and community service,” Brener said.

He noted that the alleged victim was a willing participant and consented to Ortiz’s behavior.

“Though unlawful and despicable, having consensual sex with a 16-year-old is less culpable than with someone younger or having forcible sex with someone of that age,” Brener said.

“This wasn’t the most heinous of sexual offenses to come before the court,” he added.

Ortiz was teary-eyed but zombie-like during the sentencing.

“It was so overwhelming to him,” Brener said. “He was obviously extremely disappointed.”

Brener plans to file an appeal for his client.

Assistant State Attorney Jennifer Royal prosecuted the case.

The State Attorney’s Office did not provide a comment Tuesday on the sentencing.

In February 2014, parents of the teen contacted the CCPD to file a report alleging that their daughter had engaged in sexual activity with Ortiz. Authorities interviewed the teen, then executed a search warrant at Ortiz’s home. On duty at the time, Ortiz was also served with a body warrant at the station.

Officials reported that the alleged actions took place between September and the start of November over the course of three unauthorized police ride-alongs and began following a call for police service at the teen’s home. Forensics determined there had been cell phone contact between the teen and Ortiz.

Brener reported that months after Ortiz’s arrest, a second girl came forward and claimed Ortiz had molested her also. He was charged with a third court, but it was later nolle prossed by the court.