Former Alliance Middle School Counselor Charged With Sharing Inappropriate Material With Minor

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ALLIANCE – A former Alliance Middle School counselor was arrested Wednesday, charged with a felony for what school officials have described as “sharing inappropriate images.”

Gelsaira Ortiz, 29, of Maple Heights, turned herself in to the Stark County Jail Wednesday afternoon, according to the arrest report. Ortiz pleaded not guilty Friday during her arraignment in the courtroom of Stark County Common Pleas Judge Chryssa Hartnett, according to court records. The court released Ortiz on his own admission without bail.

A Stark County Grand Jury charged Ortiz on July 1 with the fifth-degree felony of spreading cases harmful to a minor involving a 14-year-old Alliance Middle School student sometime between December 25 and May 20. Ortiz’s arrest.

Court records do not indicate what kind of material she is charged with.

Alliance City Schools message to parents

Alliance City Schools Superintendent Rob Gress informed students’ families of Ortiz’s arrest on Thursday in a post on the school district’s website.

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He wrote that on May 23, Alliance police notified the school district of allegations of misconduct against Ortiz. She had resigned on May 19, effective June 7, citing a job outside the district.

The school district said it placed her on administrative leave immediately after hearing from the police. Ortiz was not allowed to be in school facilities, on school grounds, or communicate with school staff, students or families of students.

More: Alliance Middle School employee charged with ‘improper’ communication with students

Without subsequently identifying her, the district informed parents on May 26 of the investigation into the alleged “sharing of inappropriate images and engaging in inappropriate communication with students.”

In Gress’s message Thursday identifying Ortiz as the staff member on leave, he wrote that Ortiz was no longer a district employee, apparently because of her resignation.

“As educators, we hold ourselves to the highest standard of behavior,” he wrote. “Every time these standards are not met, we are deeply disappointed.”

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Messages deleted

On Feb. 9, the district had tweeted with a photo of Ortiz that “Gelsaira Ortiz has been a member of the AMS guidance staff for the past few years!”, according to a Google cache of the Twitter page. “This year she is working hard to meet the needs of all 8th graders at AMS! Thank you for all you do!” The district posted the same message on Facebook, which was still there at the beginning of Wednesday.

On Thursday afternoon, the posts were either deleted or inaccessible to the public.

According to what appears to be her LinkedIn profile, Ortiz has been a counselor for Alliance City Schools since August 2019. She was a counseling intern at Walls Elementary School in Kent during the 2018-2019 school year. She graduated with a master’s degree in education/school counseling from Kent State University in 2019, after earning a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Ashland University in 2015, her LinkedIn profile says.

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The statute says: “No one, with knowledge of the character or content, shall recklessly do any of the following…to sell, supply, supply, distribute, disseminate, display, rent, or present a minor, a group of young people directly, a law enforcement officer impersonating a minor, or a group of law enforcement officers impersonating minors, material or conduct that is obscene or harmful to minors.”

Violating this provision of the law is a fifth-degree felony if the minor between the ages of 13 and 17 is shown “obscene” material.

A message requesting comment was left with the Strongsville law firm of Aaron A. Schwartz, who was listed as Ortiz’s original attorney in the case.

Reach Robert at [email protected]ntonrep.com. On Twitter: @rwangREP.

This article originally appeared on The Repository: Former Alliance School Counselor Gelsaira Ortiz Facing a Crime

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