Christopher Sutton, a now former Conroe ISD police officer, and Brian Ortiz, a contract sports referee for the district, are now facing charges. Court documents say both men had a relationship with that student from Caney Creek High School.
The student is 18 years old and was at the age of consent when the relationship allegedly occurred, but according to the criminal complaint the teen knew Conroe ISD Police Sergeant Chris Lee Sutton for years as a family friend.
"Officer Sutton knew this victim from the time he was five years old, it appears," said Montgomery Co. prosecutor Phil Grant.
When we asked Grant if Sutton was a "father figure" to the teen, he replied, "Yes."
Last August, according to the complaint document, the relationship changed to a sexual one. Sutton, who is 36, allegedly went on an online dating site; the student had the app as well.
"Specifically catering to homosexual men who want to have relatively casual sexual hookups," Grant said.
Prosecutors say the encounters allegedly began after that. Then enter Brian Ortiz, who was a contract referee for one football game at Caney Creek. Ortiz, 25, allegedly met the student then.
Earlier this month, the complaint states Ortiz began a physical relationship with the teenager. The document states Ortiz found out about Sgt. Sutton and told the student's mother who went to authorities.
"It doesn't appear that Mr. Ortiz realized that his employment with the school district also placed him in violation of the law," said Grant.
Ortiz is now charged with improper relationship between an educator and a student. He is a referee for Conroe ISD's athletic events, contracted through Houston TASO Basketball Officials Association, Houston TASO Football Officials Association, and Houston Basketball Officials Association.
Now former school district police officer Chris Sutton, who was once assigned to the Caney Creek campus, is facing the same charges.
"Our young people have enough problems to face without these kind of problems from adults," said one grandmother with whom we spoke outside the school Tuesday.
Conroe ISD officials say the district first learned of the possible charges when Sutton resigned from the Conroe ISD Police Department on February 17. They add that he had worked for the Conroe ISD PD for 14 years, serving as sergeant for the past nine years.
Chief William Harness said, "These charges are serious and the safety and well-being of our students remains our highest priority. The district is working closely with the District Attorney's office and the city of Conroe Police Department in the investigation. "
Sutton's bond has been set at $300,000. Ortiz is free on $100,000 bond.
Anyone that may have relevant information in this case is encouraged to contact Detective Ben Mitchell at 936-522-3215.
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