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Woman accuses a now-Davenport alderman of sexual assault when she was a teen

Quad City Times - 11/10/2023

Nov. 10—A Bettendorf mother sat down with her kids last week and explained to them why she asks so many questions when they go somewhere — details like who they're with, what adults are there, what time and where. She also explained why she gets anxious when her daughter brings up babysitting.

Andrea Moore wanted them to hear it from her, and not another source, as she pursued a more public accounting of what she says happened to her 24 years ago.

"I sat down and I told them that I was raped," Moore told the Quad-City Times. The man she accuses is now-Davenport alderman Robby Ortiz. He was about 27 years old at the time of the alleged incident. She says she was 14 or 15.

A police report regarding the incident was filed in 1999 after Moore's mother told police she believed Moore had been sexually assaulted. Out of that case, Ortiz denied the sexual assault allegation and pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor for buying alcohol for a minor.

In September of this year, Moore again talked with detectives about the 1999 incident.

Following that recent meeting, Davenport police and the Scott County attorney determined there was "probable cause to believe a sex assault had occurred," as stated in an updated 2023 police report.

However, the case was closed in late October with no charges filed because the statute of limitations had expired, according to the report and an interview with the county attorney.

Ortiz, reached by the Quad-City Times, said he "never sexually assaulted anyone."

"In 1999, I pled guilty to a fine only offense of contributing to delinquency of a minor," Ortiz wrote in an email. "This was based upon taking a person under the age of 18 to dance club. The incident was investigated, and I was not charged with any offense related to a sex act. I never sexually assaulted anyone. I am innocent. This case was closed back in 1999 and it has not created any new charges. I cannot defend an uncharged act that did not occur. I am innocent of any accusation of sexual abuse."

Moore came forward this fall because her kids are now 9 and 13 years old, and she grows anxious when her daughter talks about babysitting, according to her 2023 police report interview. She told police she did not want to see Ortiz's name on yard signs nor to see him represent Davenport.

Ortiz lost his bid for reelection as alderman Tuesday, but is set to serve out the remainder of his existing term.

Moore took her story to social media in the days before the election, writing in a Facebook post that Ortiz sexually assaulted her when she was a young teenager. She urged parents to check in with their kids.

"I look forward to the day when justice is served and this man has to stand accountable for what he's done to me," she wrote.

The first police report in 1999

Moore's mother called the Davenport police in 1999 to report that she believed a man for which her daughter provided babysitting services had sexually assaulted her daughter.

According to the 1999 report, which the Quad-City Times received as part of a records request from the Davenport Police Department, Moore's mother said she was told about the incident by a friend of the family her daughter confided in. When Moore's mom questioned her, Moore did not want to talk to the police, the report stated, and even noted she would lie to contradict claims she had been assaulted.

When Moore recounted her story to detectives and later to a reporter this fall, she said she remembered some details of the incident differently than the account written in the 1999 police report. She attributes some of the clouded details to miscommunication, pitfalls of memory and what she remembers as her unwillingness to tell police the full story as a teenager.

The 1999 report states Moore told a detective that seven or eight months before she spoke to police, Ortiz took her to a local night club with his brother, bought her drinks and then took her to the Duck Creek Golf Course parking lot.

There, according to Moore's summarized interview in the 1999 report, despite her protests and telling him "no," Ortiz kissed her, rubbed her leg, genitals and breast outside her clothes. Moore told police she said, "If you don't stop, I will get out and walk home." Moore then told police Ortiz said, "OK," drove her to a gas station, bought her a pop and then drove her home.

Ortiz denied to police in 1999 he'd touched Moore, but admitted to taking her to the local nightclub and buying her alcohol.

Ortiz pleaded guilty to contributing to the delinquency of a minor, a simple misdemeanor, paid a $100 fine, and the case was closed, according to court and police records obtained and verified by the Quad-City Times. A detective wrote in the 1999 police report that there was no evidence a sexual assault occurred, stating, "It is one person's word against another."

Moore goes back to police in 2023

Then, a little more than a month ago, the now-39-year-old saw in a news report that Ortiz was in the center of controversy following an allegation he used a racial slur in front of a Black alderman. Ortiz has since filed a defamation suit against Ald. Tim Kelly for making the allegation.

Moore said she had seen Ortiz's election signs around Davenport advertising his run for a second term as 4th Ward alderman and decided she wanted people to know what happened to her.

"He should not be representing a district, a ward, a town," she told the Quad-City Times. "He just shouldn't."

She said she thinks about her daughter, who is nearing babysitting age.

"And I think the older my daughter gets, the more — I thought I was past it, but the older she gets the more anxiety I get about issues," she said.

She called around to friends, wanting to know how she could tell her story. She was urged to go to the police department and request to press charges in the 1999 case. She did. A detective interviewed her Sept. 28 of this year, according to a police report.

Adding rape allegation in new report

When filing the new report with police, Moore included another allegation that wasn't noted in the 1999 report.

Much of the story was the same. She again alleged to police that Ortiz took her to a local night club, bought her drinks, and while she was intoxicated, drove and parked at the Duck Creek Golf Course.

This year, she told the detective that Ortiz wanted to show her a stereo system in the vehicle and tried to kiss and touch her. Then, she told the detective, Ortiz raped her in the backseat.

"His penis was in me, and I was pushing him off," she told the detective this year.

"All I remember is that he wore a lot of Joop cologne," she told The Quad-City Times. "It's very strong, and I was kind of using my legs to get him off of me and telling him 'no.' I remember that, and telling him to stop. And he eventually just quit."

During the September interview with police, Moore told the detective she remembered staying silent when her mother brought her to the police station in 1999. She didn't remember telling the police anything about the assault and expressed surprise when the detective read from the 1999 police report in September of this year. She also was sure her mother brought her to the police station very soon after it happened because she remembers she was crying and not speaking. She believes it was not seven or eight months later as the report states.

More interviews followed Moore's September account to a detective. Police interviewed her parents, Ortiz and former romantic partners, which are detailed in the 2023 report. Her mom confirmed that she'd taken her daughter to the police station because she'd been told by someone her daughter confided in that Ortiz had sexually assaulted her. She told police in October that her daughter in 1999 wouldn't take babysitting jobs from Ortiz anymore even though he paid well.

Ortiz says assault didn't happen

In an interview with police following the September report, Ortiz again denied assaulting Moore or touching her sexually in any way, according to the report. He chalked up her report these decades later to a political attack on him as he ran for reelection.

Ortiz at first told the detective he couldn't remember taking her to a bar and didn't remember being charged for buying drinks for a minor, but acquiesced when the detective read the 1999 report and plea agreement, according to the recent police report. Ortiz declined to take a polygraph test because of the length of time that had passed.

While the police report, obtained through a Quad-City Times records request, redacts all names, the police report number matches the one listed in Ortiz's 1999 misdemeanor case documents in Scott County court.

In the recent report, the man interviewed by police also refers to himself as running for reelection and the report referenced his age, which matches date-of-birth records in Ortiz's court filings.

According to the police report, on Oct. 25, a sergeant and detective spoke with County Attorney Kelly Cunningham about the case.

Officials: 'We would go forward with it in a heartbeat if we could'

"It was determined there was enough probable cause to believe the sex assault occurred, but due to the statute of limitations this case could not be charged because it occurred in 1999," the 2023 police report stated, noting that the victim was notified and the case closed.

The Iowa Legislature did away with statutes of limitations for certain sex abuse crimes against children in 2021. But the new law isn't retroactive, Iowa Sen. Janet Petersen told the Quad-City Times.

That means county attorneys can't bring charges if the victim was over the age of 33 at the time the law was signed (15 years following the victim turning 18) unless there's been a DNA breakthrough in a case.

Scott County Attorney Cunningham confirmed this in an interview with the Quad-City Times.

"The law is the law. We all have to comply with the law. There are rules that exist, and we have to work within the parameters and those rules," Cunningham said in an interview with the Quad-City Times. "So, you know, it's not that our office, and the Davenport Police Department, is not sympathetic. It's not as if this is something that we would ignore. We wouldn't ignore it. We would go forward with it in a heartbeat if we could."

Advocates like Petersen have made fresh attempts in recent years to eliminate civil statutes of limitations, which are strict in Iowa. Many Iowans who were abused as children run out of time to file civil lawsuits, to seek monetary damages, at the age of 19.

Moore understands charges can't move forward in her case, but she says that's not her goal. She wants the public to know what happened to her and to remind parents and guardians to keep a close eye on their children.

"I have spent my entire life quiet to protect my parents. I'm telling my story now to protect my daughter and anyone else that had felt like this ever," Moore said.

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