A Roslindale man with ties to the Boston Broncos youth baseball program on Monday pleaded not guilty to charges he was “grooming’’ a 12-year-old boy into becoming his sexual partner, according to Suffolk prosecutors.
Jose Ortega, 41, appeared in West Roxbury Municipal Court where he pleaded not guilty to four counts of enticement of a child under 16, one count of unnatural and lascivious acts with a child under 16, and one count of attempting to commit a crime for allegedly trying to convince the child to send nude photographs to him.
West Roxbury Municipal Court Judge Ernest Sarason set bail at $50,000 cash. If he posts bail, Ortega must stay away from children under the age of 18, surrender his passport and wear a GPS monitoring bracelet.
According to Suffolk District Attorney Daniel Conley’s office, prosecutor Laura Montgomery alleged in court that Ortega met the boy earlier this year when Ortega invited the youth to join Ortega’s team, the Boston Broncos. Ortega allegedly said he had connections with major league baseball teams.
In the ensuing months, Montgomery alleged that that Ortega began “grooming” the boy by engaging him in phone conversations, Facebook messages, and in person.
Ortega also allegedly urged the boy to get into his van so they could engage in sexual relations. Ortega also invited the boy to shower at his home and allegedly urged the child to “take sexualized photos of himself’’ and send them to him.
The investigation began when when a relative of the boy observed some of the explicit messages Ortega allegedly left on the boy’s Facebook account.
“This is something we always tell parents and caregivers of younger teens, but it bears repeating now more than ever: make it clear that your kids can come to you with their problems and fears, and make sure they know that no one who really cares for them would want them to keep a secret from you,’’ Conley said in a statement.
He added, “it’s critically important for children to know that they won’t get in trouble for telling parents about something that makes them uncomfortable.’’ He urged parents to set limits on Internet and cellphone usage by children.
The investigation by Conley’s Child Protection Unit and the Boston Police’s Crimes Against Children Unit.