GALVESTON, Texas – Former Galveston County Sheriff’s Deputy Ruben Noel Ornelas was sentenced to a maximum of 20 years in prison for the felony charge of indecency with a child by sexual contact; and a maximum of 10 years in prison for the felony charge of online solicitation of a minor.
Ornelas pleaded guilty to both offenses on Jan. 2 and was sentenced on Wednesday by Judge Patricia Grady of Galveston County.
Ornelas will be required to serve one half of his sentence for the charge of indecency with a child by sexual contact before he is eligible for parole.
On Monday, Ornelas’ punishment trial began in the 212th District Court.
According to trial testimony, in October 2016, Ornelas sent illicit text messages to a 15-year-old girl. Trial testimony revealed that the messages eventually led to multiple instances of inappropriate sexual contact between the two.
The state presented evidence that these incidents occurred while Ornelas was under indictment for the felony offense of sexual contact with a supervised person.
The court learned through testimony that, in May 2015, while in custody in the Galveston County Jail, a female inmate performed oral sex on Ornelas.
The witness testified that she felt that she had to perform the sexual act on Ornelas because of his position as a deputy sheriff.
The state then elicited testimony from multiple witnesses that pointed to a history of sexual deviancy.
The court heard testimony that, in 2015, Ornelas was under investigation for publishing intimate visual material.
The state presented testimony from multiple women involved in intimate relationships with Ornelas who believed the defendant had posted illicit photographs of them online.
Additionally, the court heard testimony from a former Galveston County Sheriff’s Office deputy who testified that, in 2013, Ornelas sent her a text message containing a photograph of a young girl that she thought was inappropriate.
The former deputy testified that she reported the incident to the Sheriff’s Office – but at the time it was not a criminal offense.
The state presented the testimony of another woman who told the court that, while she was a freshman in high school Ornelas, a junior, sexually assaulted her. In 2000, a Galveston County grand jury found there was not sufficient evidence in the case.