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Former Assemblyman arrested for soliciting sex with minors

COLONIE Former Assemblyman George Chris Ortloff, 61, was arrested Oct. 13, charged with soliciting a minor for sex, according to officials from the U.S. Attorneys Office in Albany. The Lake Placid native and former assistant minority leader from 1986 to 2006 was booked Monday by federal marshals. According to reports, Ortloff was arrested at a motel near Albany International Airport, where federal marshals and state police were conducting a sting operation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas Spina said Ortloff allegedly arranged a date on the Internet with 11- and 12-year old sisters whom he had been e-mailing since June. The criminal complaint filed by state police said Ortloff used a Webcam to make the motel rendezvous, and arrived possessing condoms, lubricants, adult toys and a camera. Spina said the sisters did not exist, and Ortloff instead walked in to find state police and federal marshals. Police conducted raids on Ortloffs Plattsburgh residence and his office at Coldwell Banker Whitbeck Associates, a real estate agency in Lake Placid where Ortloff is employed. A computer was seized during the search. Ortloff appeared in court the afternoon of Oct. 14, wearing a prison jumpsuit and handcuffs. After hearing the criminal complaint, he declined to enter a plea. Ortloffs attorney, Andrew Safranco, requested the scheduled Oct. 15 bail hearing be postponed so the defense could have time to review any evidence found during the subsequent searches of Ortloffs property. Safranco told the judge Ortloff was not a flight risk and presented no danger to the community. If convicted, Ortloff could face a minimum of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. While serving as assemblyman for the 114th district, Ortloff championed increasing penalties for those charged and/or convicted with sex crimes. Two years ago, former Gov. George Pataki appointed the 20-year assembly veteran to a part-time position on the 19-person state Parole Board, where he earns approximately $109,000 a year. Ortloff has also served as the chairman of the Clinton County Republican Committee, and currently sits on the board of trustees for the Adirondack Museum in Blue Mountain Lake. Before his stint as an assemblyman, Ortloff worked for WPTZ Newschannel 5 as an anchorman and served as chief of ceremonies and awards for the 1980 Olympic Games in Lake Placid. Heather Groll, a spokesperson for the state Division of Parole, said Ortloff has been temporarily relieved of his duties on the parole board. His status is under review, said Groll.

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