Ventura County Star
Published 7:32 PM EDT Oct 10, 2018
Former WBC welterweight title holder Victor Ortiz pleaded not guilty Wednesday to three felony sexual assault charges in connection with an incident in Oxnard, California.
Ortiz, 31, appeared in Ventura County Superior Court to face the charges stemming from the March 19 alleged assault. He stood beside his defense attorney, Mark Pachowicz, as the lawyer entered the not-guilty plea on Ortiz’s behalf.
Pachowicz did not comment on the case to a throng of news reporters outside the courtroom but later told The Ventura County Star that the hearing signals the beginning of his legal team’s inquiry into the allegations.
“We entered our plea of not guilty, and we’re going to begin our work and our investigation to get to the bottom of this,” Pachowicz said.
Ortiz was set to fight Sept. 30 in a nationally televised event, but he was pulled from the card days after his arrest.
The Oxnard Police Department investigated the assault reported by a woman on March 19. The woman told police she was assaulted inside an Oxnard residence, police said.
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Ortiz was arrested in connection with a warrant issued in the case on Sept. 25. He turned himself in to deputies in Thousand Oaks.
The boxer was booked into Ventura County jail but posted a $100,000 bond and was released the same day.
Supervising Senior Deputy District Attorney Brent Nibecker, who oversees the Ventura County District Attorney’s Office’s Sexual Assault Family Protection Unit, would not reveal any details of the case or the relationship between Ortiz and the alleged victim.
The goal was to protect the identity of the victim and Ortiz’s right to a fair trial, Nibecker said.
The case was presented to prosecutors after several months of police investigation, with the charges filed Sept. 24. The arrest warrant was issued the same day, court records show.
Among the charges Ortiz is facing is one count of forcible rape, according to the complaint.
If convicted, Ortiz faces a maximum sentence of 24 years in state prison, Nibecker said.
Ortiz is scheduled to return to court for an early disposition conference on Dec. 3.
In addition to his boxing career, Ortiz appeared on the 16th season of Dancing with the Stars, as well as movies such as The Expendables 3 and Southpaw.