Ron Bultongez, who appeared on season 16 of American Idol, was arrested in Texas and charged with the sexual assault of a child under 17 years old, according to case information viewed by In Touch from the Tarrant County court docket.
After his arrest, Bultongez was released on a $50,000 bond, and while it’s unclear if Bultongez has entered a plea at this time, a hearing has been set for August 13, according to the case information.
A rep for American Idol and Tarrant County’s public information officer did not immediately respond to In Touch‘s requests for comment, and it is not clear if Bultongez has obtained legal representation who can speak on his behalf.
Despite hailing from Plano, Texas, Ron auditioned for the reality singing competition in New York by singing “Let It Go” by James Bay and while he was initially eliminated from the competition, judge Lionel Richie changed his “no” vote to a “yes.”
Eventually, the then-21-year-old made it all the way to the Top 24 after singing “Home” by Phillip Phillips and “All I Want” by Kodaline in the Solo Rounds and Showcase Round, respectively.
Ultimately, he was eliminated from the competition after singing “Dancing on My Own” by Robyn and “Someone to You” by Banners, the latter of which was a duet with the musician.
“I was born in the Congo,” he said in a February 2018 preview ahead of his American Idol audition. “My mother, siblings and I came here as refugees, so I really want to inspire other people.”
“This chance at American Idol means I can make a lifelong career out of my music and show my son what can happen if you follow your dreams,” he added at the time.
If you or anyone you know has been sexually abused, call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673). A trained staff member will provide confidential, judgment-free support as well as local resources to assist in healing, recovering and more.
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