A Texas woman, now a former deputy constable, has been relieved of duty and faces multiple felony charges after allegedly doling out corporal punishment to her three young children – with a Taser.
Xochitl Ortiz, 34, had been a member of Harris County’s Precinct 4 Constable’s Office for two years servicing the area north of Houston. The single mother of three boys, aged 8, 11 and 12, was said to be in a relationship with fellow deputy constable Christopher Worthington when, between April 1-4, she allegedly abused her children using her boyfriend’s department issued Taser.
Ortiz appeared at a court hearing Friday, according to KTRK, where a local magistrate detailed the allegations for the record stating, “The facts allege that you used a Taser to tase each of your children: one on the hand, one on the buttocks, one on the shoulder. The facts allege the complaining witnesses complained of shock and pain and don’t feel safe in your home.”
While the alleged abuse was said to have happened in Ortiz’s apartment, authorities had not been made aware of any potential wrongdoing until the children complained to their father that they no longer felt safe around their mother.
Strategies for Youth, a non-profit organization, released a report that emphasized the dangers similar devices have on children that explained, “By dint of their psychological and physical lack of maturity, the use of CEWs on young people is particularly risky, threatening long-lasting permanent physical and emotional damage, and even death.”
Constable Mark Herman, who initially hired Ortiz, was made aware of the allegations and released a statement that read in part, “On April 14, 2022 my office received a complaint in reference to these allegations and immediately initiated an investigation. My office, along with investigators with the Harris County Sheriff’s Office worked together, culminating in my office placing ex-deputy Xochitl Ortiz into custody and transferring her to the investigators.”
Herman had also wrote, “Any allegations of police misconduct, rather on duty or off, instantly becomes our top priority. Every one of us who puts on this uniform wants to maintain the pride in our agency and our profession and we can only do that by fully investigating any allegations of wrongdoing.”
While Worthington has also been reportedly relieved of his duties, he is currently not facing any criminal charges. Ortiz faces as much as 10 years in prison for each felony charge and her bail was originally set at $450,000, $150,000 for each separate case. However, Ortiz filed a financial disclosure document that explained her monthly expenses exceed her income at, because of hardship, bail was reduced to $30,000 per case totaling $90,000.
Her defense attorney Russell Neumann told KTRK that Ortiz will plead not guilty and, “I’m just notifying everyone she maintains her innocence. She continues down the path that we’re going to fight this case and she won’t accept anything. I don’t feel that anything should, or could or will happen.”
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