- Augusto Cortez, 53, fled the US in June 2014, after cops questioned him about alleged sexual abuse claims against him by the family of a six-year-old girl
- Interpol and US Marshals eventually tracked down Cortez in Guatemala
- He was flown back to JFK Airport on Saturday and arrested by police
- Cortez has pleaded not guilty to felony charges including sexual abuse
- Cortez, a registered sex offender, was defrocked in 2008 after pleading guilty to a misdeameanor charge when he was accused of abusing a 12-year-old girl
A defrocked priest on the run for allegedly sexually abusing a young girl in 2014 was tracked down in Guatemala and extradited back to the US, where he will finally face abuse charges in Long Island, NY.
Interpol, working with US Marshals, found ex-priest Augusto Cortez, 53, in Guatamala and put him on a flight to New York over the weekend, according to authorities.
Upon landing at JFK Airport on Saturday, Cortez — a former Catholic priest of the Vincentian Congregation — was arrested and sent to jail without bail.
Fugitive ex-priest Augusto Cortez, 53, was found in Guatemala and extradited to the US, where he will face felony charges from a 2014 accusation that he sexually abused a six-year-old girl
Cortez pleaded not guilty to charges of first-degree criminal sexual act, first-degree sexual abuse and endangering the welfare of a child on Monday, according to WABC.
The charges all stemmed from a June 2014 incident in which he is accused of molesting a six-year-old girl at a family party in Southampton, Long Island.
Cortez had been on the run since June 2014, when he was questioned by police after the little girl’s family — long-time friends of Cortez — called police to report that they suspected he had been sexually abusing their youngest daughter.
Although police questioned him at the time of the initial complaint, they had to release Cortez because they lacked enough hard evidence to charge him with any crimes. Days later, when cops had found the evidence they needed to charge him, they discovered that he had vanished.
Before he fled, police questioned Cortez about accusations he molested this six-year-old girl
Cortez was defrocked after pleading guilty to a charge of molesting a girl, 12, in 2008
Two months after he fled, the unnamed six-year-old told PIX11 news that Cortez abused her frequently, more times than she was able to count. Later the same year, she was diagnosed with genital herpes, according to 27.east.
Cortez fled to South America once he realized that he was under investigation, Southampton police said, adding that he had traveled to several countries on the continent before he was tracked down in Guatemala.
Cortez is a registered sex offender, who was defrocked by his order after he pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of forcibly touching a 12-year-old student’s breasts at a Brooklyn, New York parish school in 2008. He was sentenced to probation in 2009.
He was categorized as a Level 1 — or low risk of repeat offense — sex offender by the state.
Cortez is due back in court on May 15.
Ex-priest charged with sex crimes on Long Island
RIVERHEAD, Long Island (WABC) —
A defrocked priest pleaded not guilty Monday to charges of sexually abusing a young girl on Long Island.
Augusto Cortez, 53, pleaded not guilty to criminal sexual act, sexual abuse and endangering the welfare of a child, said Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota said.
Spota said the crimes occurred in June 2014 and Cortez was indicted by a grand jury in October of that year.
But Cortez fled to South America in 2014 to avoid arrest, officials said. He was arrested by Southampton Town police April 22 when he was returned to the U.S.
He is being held without bail and is scheduled to return to court May 15.
Cortez is a registered sex offender; he was convicted of forcible touching in Brooklyn in 2009.
He was part of Diocese of Rockville Centre’s Hispanic Apostolate and worked at St. Rosalie Parish in Hampton Bays.
Fugitive Ex-Priest in Long Island Child Sex Abuse Case Caught in Guatemala, Extradited Back to U.S.: Police
He is set to return to court on May 15
NBC New York
Published at 5:58 PM EDT on Apr 24, 2017 | Updated at 10:03 PM EDT on Apr 24, 2017
A defrocked priest wanted for sexually abusing a child in New York was found in Guatemala and extradited back to the U.S. over the weekend, authorities said.
Augusto Cortez, 53, was wanted for allegedly sexually abusing a girl in 2014 in Southampton, Long Island. He fled to South America when he realized he was being investigated, according to Southampton police.
He was extradited back to the U.S. with the help of U.S. Marshals and was arrested at JFK Airport on Saturday.
He pleaded not guilty to charges of first-degree criminal sexual act, first-degree sexual abuse and endangering the welfare of a child.
He was remanded to jail without bail and is set to return to court on May 15.
Cortez is a registered sex offender, according to Suffolk prosecutors. He was expelled from the Vincentian Order after he was convicted of forcible touching in Brooklyn in 2009.
CBS 2 Exclusive: L.I. Girl, 6, Says She Was Molested By Suspended Sex Offender Priest
A 6-year-old Long Island girl says she was molested by the suspended priest Augusto Cortez, who was already a sex offender on probation. (Credit: CBS 2)
HAMPTON BAYS, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A little girl was allegedly sexually abused by a suspended Catholic priest who was a close family friend, and who had been charged with similar a crime in the past.
As CBS 2’s Lou Young reported exclusively Monday night, the 6-year-old, who has been diagnosed with a sexually-transmitted disease, said the abuse happened more times than she can remember. CBS 2 met her at her family’s home in Hampton Bays.
The girl identified her assailant as Augusto Cortez, 50, a suspended Catholic priest who should have been on everyone’s radar as a potential threat, Young reported.
Her mother told us how she found Cortez – a once trusted family friend and guest – at a backyard party on a couch with the child four months ago.
“Her face, it showed the fear, but what mostly really assured me was he walked away and he pulled up his zipper right away,” the girl’s mother said.
Cortez was picked up and questioned for several hours at Southampton police headquarters, and was released even though he is a sex offender on probation. After that, he since vanished, and CBS 2 is told the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office is actively looking for him.
“He’s on probation in Brooklyn for exactly the same crime — molesting a child,” said the victim’s attorney, Michael Dowd.
The Brooklyn District Attorney’s office said it was the forcible touching of a 12-year-old girl in 2008 at a school across the street from his former residence at the Vincentian religious order in Bedford-Stuyvesant.
The Vincentian religious order wrote letters on Cortez’s behalf back then, when he received six years’ probation. But the order now seems to be washing its hands.
“We have fully co-operated with law enforcement officials… so that Mr. Cortez may be located as soon as possible and brought to justice,” the order said in a statement.
But Dowd was quick to add, “It comes too late for one 6 year-old.”
Dowd said the statement also perhaps came too late for other victims who have not come forward.
‘PERVERT’ PRIEST NABBED
New York Post
June 5, 2008 | 8:00am
A Brooklyn priest was arrested yesterday and charged with touching the breast of a 12-year-old schoolgirl, prosecutors said yesterday.
Father Augusto Cortez, 44, a member of the Vincentian Fathers order, allegedly fondled the girl last May 29 at St. John the Baptist School in Bushwick, where he was assigned.
Cortez surrendered yesterday and was awaiting arraignment on sex-abuse charges. He faces up to a year in jail if convicted.