A former Orange County Sheriff’s Department deputy has been charged months after allegedly pouring scalding water on a mentally ill patient, officials announced Monday.
Guadalupe Ortiz, 47, faces one felony count each of assault or battery by a public officer and battery with serious bodily injury in connection with the April 1 incident.
Ortiz was working as a custodial deputy at the intake release center at the Santa Ana jail when another deputy was trying to get the inmate to retract his hands from the hatch door.
When the deputy could not get the inmate to comply, Ortiz and another deputy offered to help, officials said.
Ortiz is accused of using a hot water dispenser to fill a cup with scalding water and going to the victim’s cell. When the inmate again ignored orders, Ortiz allegedly poured the water on the inmate’s hands “causing him to immediately pull his hands back inside his cell,” the news release states.
One of the deputies then closed the hatch door and the three deputies left.
More than six hours later, another deputy spoke to the inmate during a security check and requested medical attention for the victim’s arm, which was described as red and peeling.
The inmate suffered first and second-degree burns to his hands, officials said. No further information about the incident, the inmate or the other deputies was released.
Ortiz was a deputy for 19 years and previously served as a sheriff’s special office before he was fired last week, officials said.
“The law imputes a special duty of care on custodial personnel and in this case the Sheriff’s deputy completely breached that duty and crossed the line into criminal conduct,” District Attorney Todd Spitzer said in the news release. “It is my responsibility to hold Sheriff’s deputies and other jail staff accountable when they fail to properly protect those in their care. And now a deputy is throwing away a 22-year-career for inflicting unnecessary harm on a mentally ill inmate out of frustration.”
Ortiz is scheduled to be arraigned on Jan. 11, 2022. He faces a maximum sentence of four years in prison if convicted as charged.