LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) – According to an arrest report, a Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department officer arrested for child abuse allegedly slapped his children, “destroyed” the family house and left a handgun unattended near a trampoline in the backyard.
The report states that detectives were initially made aware of possible child abuse by Officer Joseph Ortega on October 11, with the incidents in question happening on March 26. As a result of the report of possible child abuse or endangerment, detectives contacted the Criminal Investigations Section (CIS).
Two detectives conducted an interview at LVMPD Headquarters with the mother of two of Ortega’s children on October 12. She explained that she and the suspect had been together for approximately eight years and they separated in January due to Ortega “having an affair and Joseph was going back and forth” between the two women.
According to the police report, Ortega had the children with him on March 26 when he contacted their mother and asked her to come home “because he could not be with the kids anymore.”
When she returned home, an argument ensued, during which the suspect reportedly “broke several items in the house including the banister on the stairs” as he moved through the house into the garage. The report said he threw multiple things around there as well. It alleged that he also kicked his truck multiple times, at which point the children’s mother closed the garage and locked the front door.
Ortega reportedly knocked on the home’s door and rang the doorbell multiple times but she did not answer. The suspect then went to the kitchen window, pointed to the backyard, and entered the residence through a rear door. Ortega then told her about a loaded handgun he had left in the yard. The children reportedly found the firearm but did not touch it.
When asked about him being violent toward her or the children, she told police that he only used “normal discipline.” She added that he would “flick the kids on the head” or “spank them on the buttocks.” She also said he would spank one of the children as part of potty training.
She detailed another incident in May, after Ortega moved back into the home. She told investigators that the suspect sent her a text message saying he could not be alone with the kids anymore because he slapped one “entirely too hard,” in his words. She returned home and found a red mark on the face of one of the children. Ortega told her he slapped the boy in the face for urinating on himself.
Additional text messages in evidence discussed the suspect’s mental state, including one occurrence when it was suggested that one of the children stay home from school due to him talking about Ortega “having a gun and thinking he was going to kill the family.” In another message, the suspect admitted the he was “not okay” and needed help.
Video footage reportedly showed Ortega breaking things, yelling, and breaking the banister on the stairs by jumping on it. A doorbell camera also showed the suspect knocking on the front door with a gun in his hand.
Ortega was arrested and faces two charges of child abuse or neglect and two counts of assault constituting domestic violence with the use of a deadly weapon. He has a preliminary appearance in Clark County Justice Court scheduled for December 21.
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