Police questioning girl's bishop after alleged church groping

2011-09-30T00:25:00Z 2011-11-14T13:50:52Z Police questioning girl's bishop after alleged church gropingJim Dalrymple - Daily Herald Daily Herald
September 30, 2011 12:25 am  • 

PROVO -- Thirty-year-old Jose Luis Ortega approached a 13-year-old girl after an adolescent water fight at an LDS Church party in August. The girl had avoided getting wet, an arrest report states, but when Ortega got her alone he "soaked her shirt with a bucket of water." Before the girl could get away, Ortega grabbed her by the arm and pulled her to him, the report reveals. He wrapped his arms around her, "held her fast" and groped her.

According to the report, the girl told her LDS bishop about the abuse, but authorities didn't learn about the allegations until Ortega began stalking the girl. The report states that after the alleged abuse happened, Ortega began waiting outside the girl's school in his blue minivan, making "leering looks at her and motions with his head and eyes for her to come with him." A school counselor contacted police after the girl reported the apparent stalking.

During an interview with authorities, Ortega invoked his right to an attorney, but his wife reportedly said that he was at the party and had talked to his bishop about something afterward.

Provo police detective Brian Taylor said that officers are investigating the role the bishop had and how much information he received. According to Taylor, the bishop's attorney told police a somewhat different version of events, saying that the girl offered the bishop only a vague account that something had happened. When he asked her what, the attorney reportedly said, she did not offer more details. The bishop claims he consequently advised the girl to talk to her parents.

Taylor said police plan to interview the bishop and find a third party who can verify what happened. He explained that other people may have been around, and officers also will be interviewing the bishop.

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