MEXICO, Mo. - UPDATE 4:20 pm: Cortez was sentenced to eight years – four years on each count, consecutive to each other for a total of eight years. If he successfully completes the Sex Offender Assessment Unit 120-day program in the Department of Corrections, he may be eligible to be released to probation
“Robert Cortez’s sentence is firm and the maximum sentence allowable under Missouri law – four years on each count to run consecutive to each other for a total of eight years,” Audrain County Prosecuting Attorney Jacob Shellabarger said. “The victim and his family felt strongly that Cortez should face a strict and severe punishment, but also to not serve the maximum sentence unless he violates his probation. Cortez will register as a sex offender and be subject to an intensive program inside the Department of Corrections where he must face the consequences of his actions and the damage he has done to this family and our community. If he successfully completes the program, he has an opportunity to be placed on probation under strict supervision.”
“Robert Cortez and his supporters harassed, threatened, demeaned and bullied his victim in this case – using the civil justice system to expose his name, address and information, and put him through an obviously frivolous civil and administrative lawsuit process in an attempt to shake his and his family’s determination and cooperation,” Shellabarger said. “Cortez, his wife and supporters used Facebook and other means to divide this community into “Cortez’s Army” and those who stood with the victim.”
“By Robert Cortez’s own words, all that was a lie,” Shellabarger said. “Cortez, who protested his innocence, claiming God was on his side and that the Devil was testing him, and a conspiracy was being raised against him, used the same tactics abusers use to gain trust.”
“In Audrain County, if you commit a sexual assault: no matter who you are, we will find you, we will thoroughly investigate your case, and you will be prosecuted fully, fairly and without hesitation,” Shellabarger said. “This case sharply divided our community between an abuser and his victim
ORIGINAL STORY: Former Mexico teacher Robert Cortez was sentenced to eight years in prison on Monday after pleading guilty to sexually touching a student.
Cortez, a former band and music teacher at Mexico High School, admitted to sexually touching a student while he was employed at the school in September 2016.
According to the prosecutor, Cortez gave the boy a ride to Columbia from Mexico to get items for an upcoming school event.
The prosecutor that said while they were in the car, Cortez touched the boy's leg and private area at least twice. The boy reported the incident to school authorities the next morning.
Cortez pleaded guilty to the sexual contact in October.
For each count of sexual contact with a student, Cortez was sentenced to four years in prison. His sentences will run consecutively for a total of eight years.
The Audrain County Prosecuting Attorney tweeted out the victim's statement after Cortez was sentenced.