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Crime & Courts

Sandwich man accused of sexual assault of girl

SYCAMORE – Police wonder if a 39-year-old Sandwich man accused of sexually abusing a girl might have abused others.

Juan J. Ortega, 39, of the 800 block of West Church Street in Sandwich, was charged with four counts of predatory criminal sexual assault of a child. Ortega would serve consecutive sentences if found guilty of all counts, totaling 120 years in prison. His bond was set at $750,000 Thursday.

He appeared in court Thursday via closed-circuit TV from the DeKalb County Jail.

According to court documents, Ortega engaged in sexual conduct with a girl under 13 years old on different occasions between April and Monday; on Tuesday and Wednesday; and between 2006 and this year.

Sandwich police Detective Sal Paletta said the girl is a family member of Ortega’s.

Prosecutor Phil Montgomery with the DeKalb County State’s Attorney’s Office said the victim informed a school counselor Wednesday of the sexual conduct, which has occurred repeatedly in the past six months.

Before that, Ortega had the girl perform sexual acts going back to 2006, Montgomery said.

Paletta said police have received information there might be other victims, so the investigation is ongoing. Those with information are asked to contact police at 815-786-7261.

The public defender was appointed to represent Ortega, and he will appear in court again Nov. 14.

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