Assignment Record– Rev. Antonio Cortes

Summary of Case: Cortes was arrested in April 2009 after a 16 year-old boy reported to school authorities, who alerted police, that Cortes had sexually abused him and plied him with alcohol. Police found Cortes to be in possession of child pornography. He also had condoms in his wallet. Cortes pleaded no contest in March 2011 and was sentenced in May to one year in jail and three years probation. His case was sent by the diocese to the Vatican to begin the process of laicization. Upon his release from jail, he was to register as a sex offender. He also faced possible deportation. Served 7 months in prison, released December 2012. Fled to home state of Jalisco, Mexico.

: 1996
Incardinated: Monterey Diocese


Start Stop Assignment Town/Accusations State Position Notes

July 1996

Monterey bishop was Sylvester Donovan Ryan (1992-2006).

Aug. 2002 Sacred Heart Salinas CA 3/3, 2/2 Parish had a school with 307-296 students, and a religious education program with 600-620 students.
2001 2005 Diocesan Vocations Board Monterey CA    
Aug. 2002 Sept. 2003 St. Theodore's Gonzales CA associate pastor Cortes is not indexed in the 2003 Directory (although he is listed under Vocations Board in the Monterey Diocesan pages).

Sept. 2003

Ryan was succeeded by Richard John Garcia (2006-).

2007 Holy Trinity (Mexican-Italian) Greenfield CA 1/1 Parish had a religious education program with 251-460 students.
June 2007 April 2009 St. Mary of the Nativity (Hispanic)


A 16 year-old boy reported to school authorities, who called police, in April 2009 that Cortes gave him alcohol and sexually abused him that week, at St. Mary's. The boy and priest first met at Holy Trinity in Greenfield when the boy went to Cortes at for counseling regarding his relationship with his girlfriend. The boy was 14 years old at that time. The priest "groomed" the boy for two years during counseling sessions, giving the boy "spiritual massages" and brandy. In April 2009 Cortes sodomized the boy, who went to police the next day.

CA 1/1

Parish had a religious education program with 950-850 students.

Cortes was arrested in April 2009 and charge with unlawful sexual behavior with a male juvenile and providing alcohol to a minor. He was also charged with possession of child pornography.

Police found images of young shirtless juvenile boys in Cortes' cell phone, and condoms in his wallet. Also, police listened in to phone calls the victim made to Cortes during which Cortes admitted to some of the behavior of which he was accused. Further, they found tens of thousands of pictures and videos of young boys engaged in sexual activity on Cortes' hard drives, some as young as six years old.

2009 2012 On Leave      

Cortes was free on bail after a preliminary hearing in Oct. 2009.

Cortes pleaded no contest in March 2011. His case was to be sent by the diocese to the Vatican for the "church-law process". He was sentenced in May 2011 to one year in jail and 3 years probation. He also faced deportation and was to be required to register as a sex offender for life.

Dec. 2012           Cortes served 7 months in prison, and was released in December 2012. He immediately fled to his home state of Jalisco, Mexico.


Sources: Official Catholic Directory (New York: P.J. Kenedy and Sons, 1997-2010)

Local Priest Arrested for Sexual Misconduct with a Minor, KCBA, April 17, 2009
Salinas Catholic Priest Accused of Molestation, By Sunita Vijayan, The Californian, April 17, 2009
Salinas Priest Arrested in Sex Case, By Sunita Vijayan, The Californian, April 18, 2009
Salinas Priest Accused of Abuse, By Larry Parsons, Monterey Herald, April 18, 2009
Monterey Bishop Addresses Molestation Case Via Letter to St. Mary's Congregation in Salinas, By Kimber Solana, The Californian
April 20, 2009
Salinas Priest's Supporters Say Molestation Charges Are Untrue, By Maria Ines Zamudio, The Californian, April 21, 2009
Priest's Bail Increased; Supporters Appear in Court, By Virginia Hennessey, Monterey Herald, April 21, 2009
'Damaging Admissions' by Priest, By Virginia Hennessey, Monterey Herald, April 22, 2009
Attorneys Agree Not to Discuss Salinas Priest Case with Public, By Sunita Vijayan, The Salinas Californian, April 29, 2009
Public Show of Support for Accused Could Send Wrong Message, By Virginia Hennessey, Monterey Herald, May 17, 2009
Graphic Details Brought to Light of Priest Molestation, KION, June 5, 2009
Salinas Priest's Sex Case Moves on, By Virginia Hennessey, Monterey Herald, October 24, 2009
Salinas Priest Asks Court to Suppress Evidence in Molestation Case, By Virginia Hennessey, The Herald, January 8, 2010
Jury Trial Set for Salinas Priest Accused of Molesting Teen, By Sunita Vijayan, The Californian, January 6, 2011
Salinas Priest Pleads No Contest in Molestation Case, By Sunita Vijayan, The Californian, March 16, 2011
Ex-salinas Priest Sentenced for Sex Abuse, KSBW, May 4, 2011
Salinas Priest Sentenced to 1 Year in Jail, Probation in Molestation of Boy, By Sunita Vijayan, Salinas Californian, May 4, 2011
Fugitive Priest Faces Sanctions, By Virginia Hennessey, Monterey Herald , February 18, 2012

Priests in a Parish: We use the following convention to show a priest's place among the clergy of a parish: 1/2 means that he is the first priest listed in the Official Catholic Directory (usually the pastor) and that there is a total of two priests at the parish. The shorthand 3/4 means that the priest is listed third on a four-priest roster. See our sample page from the Directory.

Note: The Official Catholic Directory aims to report the whereabouts of Catholic priests in the United States on January 1 of the Directory's publication year. Our working assumption is that a priest listed in the Directory for a given year was at the same assignment for part of the previous year as well. However, Kenedy and Sons will sometimes accept updates well into the year of publication. Diocesan clergy records are rarely available to correct this information. The Directory is also sometimes misleading or wrong. We have tried to create an accurate assignment record, given the source materials and their limitations. Assignment records are a work in progress and we are always improving the records that we post. Please email us with new information and corrections.

This assignment record collates Cortes' career history as it is represented in the Official Catholic Directory with allegations as reported in the media. We make no representation regarding the truth of the allegation we report, and we remind our readers that the U.S. legal system presumes that a person accused of or charged with a crime is innocent until proven guilty. Similarly, individuals who may be defendants in civil actions are presumed not to be liable for such claims unless a plaintiff proves otherwise. Admissions of guilt or liability are not typically a part of civil or private settlements. For more information, see our posting policy.

This assignment record was last updated on January 21, 2016.