A Queens computer teacher has been arrested for sexually abusing two elementary school students, authorities said. Wilbert Cortez, 49, allegedly touched the genitals and the buttocks of an 8-year-old and a 9-year-old over their clothes in his classroom at Public School 174 in Rego Park on at least two occasions during the 2010-11 school year. He is the third public school teacher accused of sexually abuse in a one week period and has been accused of inappropriately touching students in the past.
Prior to this year's allegation, Cortez was accused of sexual misconduct for touching two other students at a different school. In 2000, Mr. Cortez was found to have touched the buttocks of two male students by the school system's special commissioner of investigation. A letter recommending disciplinary action was filed but Cortez never faced any criminal charges for his actions.
This time Mr. Cortez was charged with two counts of engaging in repeated sexual conduct with a child and two counts of endangering a child's welfare, the police said. The Schools Chancellor was appalled by the allegations and made the following statement reported by the New York Times: “I will do everything in my power,” he continued, “to ensure that individuals like Mr. Cortez can be swiftly removed from our classrooms as soon as allegations surface — and be barred from teaching in our schools if those charges are substantiated.”. Mr. Cortez has been a teacher in the city schools since 1990 and has taught at P.S. 174 since 2000 but in light of the charges against him has been removed from the school.
If you have been charged with a sex crime, you should immediately seek advice from a criminal defense lawyer that is experienced in handling sex crimes cases. For a free consultation with such an attorney, complete the form to the left or call 212-566-1000. Based in New York City, Sullivan & Brill, LLP represents clients throughout the United States, as well as in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx, Staten Island, Nassau County, Suffolk County, Westchester County and other upstate New York counties.