2008-03-01 / News

Cortez is back in Ohio

By Scott Rawdon

NEWARK- John Cortez' flight from justice has gone full circle. As of Wednesday, he's being held in the Licking County Justice Center awaiting a Thursday arraignment, said Licking County Sheriff Randy Thorp.

Cortez, a former Buckeye Lake Village Council member, was apprehended Feb. 13 in Myrtle Beach, SC after nearly two months of hiding from arrest. He fledNov. 29 after being indicted on 23 counts of unlawful sexual conduct with minors, one count of corrupting minors with drugs, and an earlier felonious weapons charge. Cortez was held in Myrtle Beach city jail following his arrest.

As of Wednesday, Thorp didn't know when or where Cortez' arraignment would be, but he expected it to take place some time Thursday. He anticipates Cortez will be held without bond.

When police raided Cortez' home Nov. 8, they found that Cortez, a convicted felon, illegally possessed weapons. At that time, Cortez had no additional charges and was released on a $5,000 personal recognizance bond. The investigation into the unlawful sexual conduct charges was still in progress. Obviously, he is now a flight risk with many more charges against him. Following the arraignment, Thorp said the courts will need to set a trial date. He added the sheriff's department is still investigating where Cortez spent his time while he was on the run and who helped him financially or otherwise. "We have a lot of follow-up to do," said Thorp.

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