Diocese: Diocese of Rockville Centre, Diocese of Brooklyn, Archdiocese of Philadelphia
Order: Congregation of the Mission of St. Vincent de Paul (Vincentian)
Summary of Assignments:
- 2004-2005: Rockville Centre Diocese (church unknown)
- 2006: St. John the Baptist (Brooklyn, NY)
- 2007: SS. Peter & Paul Spirituality Center (Brooklyn, NY)
- 2009: Congregation of the Mission at St. Vincent’s Seminary (Philadelphia, PA)
In June 2008, Cortez was arrested on sex abuse charges, after touching a female student’s breast in May 2008 at St. John the Baptist School in Bushwick. He pled guilty to a misdemeanor charge of forcible touching in 2008 and was sentenced to 6 years probation in 2009. He was ordered to register as a sex offender.
In 2008, the Vincentians suspended Cortez from holding himself out as a priest, engaging in public ministry, and being alone with children.
He was reported to be part of the Diocese of Rockville Centre’s Hispanic Apostolate and he worked at St. Rosalie parish in Hampton Bays, NY.
In June 2014, Cortez was accused of sexually abusing a 6-year-old girl at her family home in Hampton Bays. The girl was born in 2007 and the alleged sexual abuse occurred from 2009 to 2014. She alleged that she contracted genital herpes from the abuse. Cortez was questioned by the police and released despite being a registered sex offender on probation due to lack of hard evidence. Cortez then fled the country. In November 2015, the girl’s family sued the Vincentians and Rockville Centre diocese.
Interpol located Cortez in Guatemala and extradited him to the United States, where he was arrested in New York on sex abuse charges. According to officials, once Cortez realized that he was under investigation, he fled to South America and traveled to several countries. In April 2017, he pled not guilty to the 2014 charges.