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Man charged in DCF confrontation; $1,500 bail, no contact order for allegedly striking girl, 12, with belt.

Byline: Gary V. Murray

WORCESTER- Bail was set at $1,500 cash yesterday for a Penn Avenue man accused of striking his 12-year-old daughter with a belt, then refusing to turn her and her two siblings over to the state Department of Children and Families.

Javier Ortiz, 41, of 91 Penn Ave., was arraigned in Central District Court yesterday on charges of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and three counts of kidnapping of a minor by a relative.

Assistant Chief Probation Officer Timothy White, who asked that Mr. Ortiz be held without bail pending a violation of probation hearing, told Judge Steven Thomas that the suspect's 12-year-old daughter reported to a counselor at Seven Hills Charter School that her father struck her with a belt for violating curfew.

The school reported the allegation to the Department of Children and Families, which, in turn, notified the district attorney's office, according to Mr. White. When DCF told Mr. Ortiz they wanted to take temporary custody of all three of his children, he refused, Mr. White said.

The probation official said Mr. Ortiz, who is on probation for an earlier conviction for driving after suspension of his license, was arrested Thursday night after failing to respond to repeated requests to bring his children to Worcester Police Headquarters.

Lawyer Julie Buszuwski, who represented Mr. Ortiz at yesterday's arraignment, said her client had full custody of the three children and placed them with relatives after being contacted by DCF. Describing Mr. Ortiz as "a panicked father worried about losing his children," she said he offered to bring them to the police station yesterday, but was told that was not acceptable.

Judge Thomas found probable cause to believe Mr. Ortiz had violated the terms of his probation, but did not order that he be detained pending a final probation surrender hearing. The judge set $1,500 cash bail on the new charges and continued the case to Feb. 9.

Mr. Ortiz was ordered to have no contact with his daughter if he posted bail.
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Title Annotation:LOCAL NEWS
Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Date:Jan 10, 2009
Words:340
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