2008-03-08 / News

No bail for Cortez

By Scott Rawdon

NEWARK- It was bitter homecoming for former Buckeye Lake Village Council member John Cortez. He was arraigned Feb. 28 on one of the 25 counts against him and he will learn March 10, 8:30 a.m. if he will be held without bond on the remaining counts.

Cortez is charged with 23 counts of unlawful sexual relations with a minor, one count of providing drugs to minors, and a felonious weapons charge. Feb. 28, Licking County Magistrate Mattie Klein set his bond at $50,000 for the felonious weapons charge. Cortez requested a continuance on the remaining charges because his lawyer, J. Elliott "Skip" van Dyne, was not present for the hearing. Cortez will be held without bond until the March 10 hearing.

Licking County Prosecutor Ken Oswalt said previously that he intends to recommend Cortez be held without bond on the remaining counts. 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. Cortez fledNov. 29 after being indicted on the 23 sexual conduct charges and the drug charge. He was apprehended Feb. 13 in Myrtle Beach, SC after nearly two months of hiding from authorities. Oswalt said Cortez is an obvious flight risk.

Licking County Sheriff Randy Thorp said earlier that 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.

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