NEW BRAUNFELS — For years, authorities have said, Refugio Ortega has been molesting little girls.
According to court documents, Ortega raped two of the girls, continuously sexually assaulted another and repeatedly touched two more improperly.
Last week, a Comal County grand jury indicted the 71-year-old New Braunfels resident on 16 counts of molestation crimes against children.
Ortega’s was one of 20 names on a list released Monday by Comal County Criminal District Attorney Jennifer Tharp of defendants indicted April 10.
Lone Star Fugitive Task Force members peaceably arrested Ortega on Aug. 8, 2012, at his home on Plum Street in New Braunfels. The warrant task force members served that day accused Ortega of sexually assaulting girls as far back as 2003.
Police first learned of Ortega’s alleged abuse in February 2012, Lt. John Wells of New Braunfels Police Department said around the time of Ortega’s arrest. Wells said it was around February 2012 when at least one of Ortega’s several victims reported being abused.
Police said the investigation revealed Ortega abused multiple girls, starting when they were between 5 and 12.
Justin River Carter
Another on the list is Justin River Carter, 18, of New Braunfels, accused in his indictment of threatening on Feb. 13 to “shoot up a kindergarten, watch the blood rain down and eat the beating heart out of one of them.”
Carter faces one count of issuing a terroristic threat.
The indictment does not say to whom Carter made the threats or if he singled out a specific school.
Judge Jack Robison ordered Carter, among other conditions of bond, not go within 1,000 feet of a place where children gather, including but not limited to public and private schools.
Grand jurors also indicted Danny Diaz, 33, of New Braunfels. He faces three counts of injury to a child causing serious bodily injury, a first-degree felony; and two counts of injury to a child causing bodily injury, a third-degree felony.
Assistant District Attorney Laura Bates is scheduled to try the case against Diaz. She said his charges are re-indictments from last year and are broken up into four different indictments — one each for the first-degree felony counts and one combined indictment for both of the third-degree charges.
“It’s (due to) the separate incidences,” Bates said Monday. “For punishment issues, they’ll probably be separate trials on each indictment.”
Indictments filed last year against Diaz state that on or about March 2, 2012, Diaz used his hand to fracture the girl’s right wrist and both her thumbs. It says he hit her in the arm that same day, and used his hand two days later to hit her on her back.
Each of the suspects on the indictment list is considered innocent until proven guilty. Their indictments in no way prove their connection with the alleged crimes.