Priest Arrested on Sex Crime Charges

Queens Ledger
June 12, 2008

Father Augusto Cortez, a priest who interacts with students at a Bushwick Catholic school has been arrested on suspicion of committing a sex crime. The 44-year-old priest, who worked at St. John the Baptist School, is charged with groping a 12-year-old student's breast on May 29.

The Diocese of Brooklyn was the first to hear of the student's accusations, and, following a previous agreement with the Kings County district attorney, notified that office. The District Attorney's Office has charged five priests with sex crimes since the agreement, which states that the District Attorney's Office will keep an investigation confidential until charges are brought, was drafted in 2002.

Father Cortez faces charges of sex abuse, forcible touching, and endangering the welfare of a child. If convicted, he could spend a year behind bars.


The public can help catch a man who has committed four bank robberies at three different locations in Brooklyn, all within the past month.

His first robbery, or at least the first in this string, occurred on May 13 when he walked into a Banco Popular branch at 15 Graham Avenue in Williamsburg demanding money. He fled the scene with an unknown amount of money.

Perhaps pleased with the service at the bank, he returned ten days later, and again fled with an unknown amount of money. The thief conducted his illegal withdrawals twice more, once at a Washington Mutual at nearby 12 Graham Avenue, and again at an HSBC Bank at 342 Fulton Street in Downtown Brooklyn.

The suspect is around 5'8" tall, is believed to be in his twenties, and weighs around 150 pounds (see photo). Anyone with any information related to the criminal is asked to call Crimestoppers at (800) 577-TIPS. All calls will be kept confidential.


With luck, no loss of life will ensue from three shootings that took place at 1:38 a.m. last Wednesday on the corner of Ashford Street and Livonia Avenue in East New York.

Police responded to reports of a man being shot, and arrived at the location to find not one, but two men lying on the ground with gunshot wounds. The first, who was hit four times in the arm, leg, and chest, is in critical condition. The second, who took shots to the back and the stomach, is stable, as is a third, who walked into Brookdale Hospital with a gunshot wound to his shoulder.


Cops were called to a Bushwick home early Sunday morning to investigate an unconscious man, only to find that he had been stabbed numerous times.

Police arrived in front of 410 Harman Street just before 3:30 a.m. and spotted the victim, and unidentified Hispanic man in his twenties. He had been stabbed several times in the torso, and was pronounced dead at the scene.


A three-year-old Brooklyn boy was beaten and killed, allegedly by the people entrusted to care for his safety.

Kyle Smith died just before midnight on Friday, June 6, at Interfaith Hospital. He was taken there after emergency crews were called to his Bedford-Stuyvesant home earlier that evening when he lost consciousness. An autopsy found that Kyle had been severely beaten in the face, and that he had likely been sodomized. He also had severe rope burns on his ankle.

Nymeen Cheatham, 30, and Lemar Martin, 25, were promptly arrested and charged with Kyle's death. Cheatham was named Kyle's legal guardian when his biological mother, who is addicted to crack, could no longer care for him. Martin was her live-in boyfriend at her home at 129 Patchen Avenue.

Kyle's grandmother, Norma Acosta, says she told cops on January 2 that she notified the Administration for Children's Services (ACS) that her grandson was being mistreated. According to published reports, ACS social workers also visited Cheatham's house last year when she officially took custody, but did not report any signs of abuse.

Cheatham and Martin were charged with assault and endangering the welfare of a child. Murder charges were awaiting the conclusion of a grand jury investigation.


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