A former Galveston County Sheriff’s Office deputy was sentenced to 20 years in prison Wednesday for soliciting sex from a teenage girl.

Ruben Noel Ornelas, 35, had pleaded guilty in January to charges of indecency with a child by contact and online solicitation of a minor and asked a judge to assess his punishment, officials said.

Judge Patricia Grady on Wednesday sentenced Ornelas after a sentencing hearing that began Monday, Assistant District Attorney Ross Hill said.

Texas City police arrested Ornelas in November 2016 at a residence in the 3800 block of Hansen Drive in Dickinson.

Ornelas was accused of sending lewd text messages and photographs to a 14-year-old girl, according to arrest affidavits. The girl told detectives Ornelas forced her to perform sex acts two separate times, according to the arrest affidavits.

The former deputy was fired from the Galveston County Sheriff’s Office in 2015 after a grand jury indicted him on a charge of engaging in sexual conduct with a county jail inmate.

After that indictment, the sheriff’s office immediately revoked his appointment as deputy. The Texas Commission on Law Enforcement suspended Ornelas’ peace officer license.

The engaging in sexual conduct charge was then dismissed in February 2017 because the Galveston County District Attorney’s Office was unable to find the complainant and because of the other ongoing cases against Ornelas, officials said.

Ornelas will be eligible for parole after serving half of his sentence, Hill said. He will be required to register as a sex offender for life.

Matt deGrood: 409-683-5230; matt.degrood@galvnews.com


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