Former “American Idol” contestant Ron Bultongez, 25, was arrested on July 15, 2021, and charged with “four counts of sexual penetration of a minor under the age of 17 on four occasions,” according to TMZ.
TMZ added that Bultongez turned himself in. He has since been released from custody on a $50,000 bond, according to criminal court documents obtained from Tarrant County, Texas.
Here’s what you need to know:
Bultongez Made It to the Top 24 on ‘Idol’
In 2018, Bultongez made it all the way to the top 24 before being eliminated from “American Idol.”
In a 2020 interview with the Dallas Observer, Bultongez explained that he was, at one point, signed to Hollywood Records and Sony RCA UK — both ended up dropping him.
Speaking about the music industry with the Dallas Observer, Bultongez said, “I feel that we’re almost like doctors in our own right. … We create medication for people’s souls. I had someone tell me, ‘You helped me overcome my cocaine addiction. Anytime I had the urge, I’d just listen to your music.’ ‘American Idol’ has helped me connect with more people. But on the negative side, it showed me a lot of parts of the industry that aren’t so fun.”
At the time of the interview, Bultongez was gearing up for his debut album. “I was tied down for about two years. Those post-TV-show contracts are brutal. I dealt with a bunch of crap that kept me from releasing anything.”
Bultongez is a father to a 4-year-old son. He told the Dallas Observer, “When [my hairstylist] found out I was expecting, she started crying. I thought she was excited, but she said, ‘I’m just so sad that your career is about to go down the drain. You just worked so hard for everything.’ I didn’t know what to expect when I became a father, but honestly, having a child did the opposite. It’s a blessing to be a parent.”
In 2020, Bultongez released the single “Get Back Up.” Speaking to The Dallas Observer about the track, he said, “I was on a date, and I was driving to go see a concert at The Rustic. I got a call from my producer, and he was like, ‘Hey man, can you come down to the studio?’ and I said, ‘Man, I’m on a date right now.’ I have a hard time clocking out of my music career. But she heard him on the phone, and she was like, ‘It’s fine if you go to the studio.’”
When he first auditioned for “Idol,” Bultongez said during an interview for the show, “To be here on ‘American Idol’ right now, on the third day of Hollywood week, a little kid from the Congo. It doesn’t sound real.”
He added, “Not only am I taking care of my baby boy, James, but I’ve also become the guardian of my two younger brothers. They were in a pretty bad situation and so I decided to step up and be the man and brother they needed in their life.”
His Hearing Will Be on August 13
According to case information obtained by In Touch Weekly, Bultongez’s hearing is scheduled for August 13.
The outlet added that it’s unknown at this time if Bultongez has any legal representation, but court records list Barry James Alford — a criminal defense attorney out of Fort Worth, Texas — as Bultongez’s defense attorney.