BELLINGHAM, Wash. — A man with prior convictions for voyeurism is being held in custody pending being able to post a $200,000 bond while awaiting trial in Whatcom County Superior Court where he faces 2 counts of child molestation and 1 count of voyeurism.
On Thursday, April 20th, at about 1:45pm, Bellingham Police were called to a retail store in the 100 block of E Bellis Fair Parkway due to a report of a man that had assaulted minor females and then fled. A detailed description was provided to responding officers.
According to an affidavit of probable cause filed with the court said investigators were told that the man could be seen on store security video using a smartphone to take pictures or video under the dress of a minor female when a friend of the female confronted the man. The man then began walking away.
As the man walked away, he grabbed another minor girl by the bottom and then attempted to do the same to another minor girl but was unable to do so due to the other victim blocking his path.
Police were able to quickly locate and detain the man a few blocks away.
The man, identified as Gaspar Ortiz-Ortiz, age 43, was arrested and now faces 2 felony charges of 1st-degree child molestation and 1 charge of 1st-degree voyeurism in Whatcom County Superior Court.
The affidavit noted Ortiz-Ortiz is a Level 3 sex offender (most likely to reoffend) with 2 prior felony convictions for 1st-degree voyeurism and that this most recent incident show that his crimes have “now escalated to the point of physically assault <sic>, where he is slapping or grabbing victims on intimate areas of their bodies.”
During the preliminary hearing on April 21st, the prosecution asked bail to be set at $750,000 and the defense requested it be set at $50,000. The court set bail at $200,000 with a $2,000 cash alternative.
As of April 26th, Ortiz-Ortiz remained in custody and was scheduled for an arraignment hearing on April 28th.