Tampa Bay man, 31, posed as high schooler to have sex with Miami-Dade teen, cops say

Michael Ortiz (MDCR)

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – A now-31-year-old man from the Tampa Bay area claimed to be 16 when he began an online relationship with a then-14-year-old girl from Miami-Dade County back in 2020, culminating in three sexual encounters with the still-underage girl three years later in South Florida, according to police.

Authorities accuse Michael Justin Ortiz, of Pinellas Park, of pretending to be the girl’s classmate at Miami Northwestern Senior High School in the years before they met, even name-dropping several teachers at the school. But police said he always had an excuse of why they couldn’t meet at school.

The pair first met on a social media platform, police said.

Miami-Dade police went to the Pinellas County Jail Tuesday to arrest Ortiz on a charge of unlawful sexual activity with a minor.

An arrest warrant states after continuous communication on social media and through text messages and FaceTime, the two agreed to be “boyfriend and girlfriend” in March or April and talked of buying a house and splitting expenses; he even bought her a promise ring, police said.

Then, in June, Ortiz went to the girl’s aunt’s house in Kendall and told her to meet him across the street so her aunt wouldn’t see him, police said.

A detective wrote in the arrest warrant that when the girl, who by then had turned 17, first saw the 31-year-old, “she confronted him about his age and she told him he looked older,” upsetting him and causing him to “yell” and “cuss” at her.

The detective wrote that Ortiz “assured” the victim he was only two years older than her and “said he was 20 years old.”

“Based off his aggressive reaction to her questioning his age, the victim did not want to confront him again about the matter because she did not want him to get upset at her,” the warrant states.

The pair then went to a movie theater at The Falls shopping mall, where Ortiz “guilt-tripped” her into having sex in the back seat of his car after seeing a movie, police wrote.

Police said in the second encounter, the pair saw a movie at The Falls and then drove to the Miami Seaquarium, where Ortiz again had sex with her in the back of his car.

In the third and final encounter, police said the pair saw a movie at a theatre on South Beach’s Lincoln Road and then had sex while parked in a Miami Beach municipal garage.

Police said the girl’s mother became aware of the relationship and asked her to show her a photograph.

The warrant states that after being shown a photo of Ortiz with the girl, the girl’s mother “became concerned and questioned his age.”

The girl told her mother Ortiz was 18 because she didn’t want to “get in trouble” by saying he was 20, police wrote.

According to the warrant, after getting Ortiz’s name and phone number, the girl’s mother Googled him and found out he was neither 18 nor 20 and was instead 31. She then contacted police.

Police said Ortiz admitted to the sexual relationship during a recorded, controlled phone call on Aug. 8.

He was being held on a $500,000 bond in the Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center as of Wednesday afternoon.


About the Author:

Chris Gothner joined the Local 10 News team in 2022 as a Digital Journalist.