COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - A Colorado Springs man allegedly posed as a Native American shaman and claimed his healing powers stemmed from electrocution during his childhood.
Arrest papers obtained by 11 News Monday outlined how 57-year-old Richard Ortega -- a registered sex offender -- allegedly pretended to be a holistic healer while preying on the women who came to him for help.
Ortega was arrested Sept. 5 following a five-month investigation. On Sept. 27, police alerted the public that there could be more victims.
Detectives first learned of Ortega in the spring when several women came forward and reported he sexually assaulted them during what Ortega claimed were "holistic healing sessions." Police worked over the next several months to gather enough evidence for an arrest.
Court documents say Ortega used the alias "Jacob Nighthawk," presented himself as a member of the Apache tribe, and claimed to have healing powers because he was electrocuted as a child.
But his alleged victims say that when they would attend healing sessions at The Center for Powerful Living near Lake and Highway 115 or at his home in Old Colorado City, Ortega would touch them inappropriately, or worse.
"He would target people involved in holistic healing," said CSPD spokesperson Lt. Jim Sokolik. "He seemed to be very much associated, or at least targeting, potentially groups associated with Native American culture. During that holistic healing experience, he would commit sexual assaults or unlawful sexual contacts.”
Some of the crimes Ortega is accused of date back to at least 2016.
"Something that happened three years ago can expand the time that it's going to take an order to fully investigate that, to gather all of that evidence, to get to the point where we can make an arrest," Sokolik said.
Ortega is facing multiple charges including sexual contact during a fake medical exam and unauthorized practice of massage therapy.
Police sent out the following on Sept. 27:
"Since Ortega’s arrest earlier this month, detectives have worked diligently to identify all of his potential victims; however, there is still a possibility there may be more. While we are unable to release the mugshot of Ortega at this time to ensure the integrity of potential future identifications, we ask that if you are a victim of a similar situation and/or believe you were possibly a victim of Ortega, please call the CSPD at (719) 444-7000.