In 2008, Fr. Augusto Cortez of the Diocese of Brooklyn was arrested and criminally charged with sexually abusing a minor student at Saint John the Baptist School in Bushwick, New York. The Vincentian Order removed Fr. Cortez from ministry and placed him on a personal safety plan, but allowed him to remain a member of the Order until September 2015 when the Order expelled him. Fr. Cortez was convicted, sentenced to probation, and ordered to register as a sex offender.
In 2014, Fr. Augusto Cortez was again arrested and questioned by police regarding allegations of child sexual abuse that took place in Hampton Bays, New York. The police released Fr. Cortez, believing they had insufficient evidence to criminally charge him. Shortly after his release, Fr. Cortez fled to Guatemala. He was arrested and extradited to the United States on April 22, 2017. Fr. Cortez pleaded not guilty to criminal charges of child sexual abuse in late April 2017.
Fr. Augusto Cortez was ordained for the Diocese of Brooklyn in 2003. He worked at St. Rosalie’s Church in Hampton Bays, New York, from 2003 to 2004, and at St. John the Baptist Church in Brooklyn, New York, in 2005. Fr. Cortez resided at the Vincentian Religious Order in Bedford-Stuyvesant, New York and worked across the street at Saint John the Baptist School in Bushwick, New York.