Warrant Issued For Man Accused of Raping Developmentally Disabled Woman

A Bermuda Dunes man accused of raping a developmentally disabled woman failed to make a court appearance Tuesday at the Larson Justice Center in Indio, prompting a judge to issue a warrant for his arrest.

Gabriel Ortiz, 25, is accused of sexually assaulting a 20-year-old woman, identified only as Jane Doe in court documents, in early 2018. Investigators said the woman “functions at the competency of a 12-year-old girl” and suffers from seizures, cerebral palsy and ADHD, according to an arrest warrant declaration dating back to the time of Ortiz’s arrest in October 2018.

Investigators “recognized the victim did not possess the cognitive abilities of adults her age, and had the mannerisms of a preadolescent child,” the warrant declaration said.

Judge Harold Hopp ruled on July 2 that enough evidence was presented for Ortiz to proceed to trial on charges of rape and oral copulation of a victim who is unable to give legal consent, but dismissed a third count of sexual battery of a disabled or medically incapacitated person. A post-preliminary hearing arraignment was scheduled Tuesday for Ortiz, but when his name was called in the courtroom, the defendant was nowhere to be found.

Hopp revoked Ortiz’s $55,000 bail and signed a bench warrant for his arrest.

The alleged rape was first reported to sheriff’s deputies when they were contacted by staff at Eisenhower Medical Center on Jan. 5, 2018, and spoke with the victim, who told investigators the assault happened the previous night at Ortiz’s apartment, the arrest warrant declaration states.

Ortiz was arrested about a week later for an unrelated crime, and admitted kissing the victim, but said she initiated all other sexual contact, according to the document.

Charges were filed against him in June 2018, and he was arrested on warrants for the rape case and a domestic violence case about four months later after allegedly running from deputies who spotted him in Palm Desert.

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