A 28-year Los Banos Unified School District employee, Ernesto Cortez, was sentenced in October 2017, to nine months in jail after pleading no contest to one count of felony possession of child pornography. Cortez was a first-grade teacher at Los Banos Elementary School. 


In August 2017, after tracing the IP address, the Merced County Sheriff Department served a search warrant for Cortez’ computers both at his home and classroom. The police reported finding 47 videos and several images of underage children on Cortez’s personal computer. Although the police found no evidence within the classroom, the police were unsure if the children contained in the pornographic images were from the school or community, as many were around the ages of his first-grade students. 


The school district cooperated with the investigation and placed Cortez on paid leave during the investigation. Following a closed session board meeting in September 2017, the school district terminated Cortez’s contract, and he ultimately lost his teaching credential in February 2018. Following his jail term, Cortez also has to register as a sex offender, serve 3-years’ probation, and have limitations on electronic devices. Cortez may be eligible for an early release for good behavior or house arrest, but that is subject to the Merced County Sheriff Department.    


Unfortunately, Cortez is the fifth Merced County teacher, within two years, to have been arrested on suspicion of sex crimes against children. He pleaded guilty quickly, even while the investigation was incomplete. 


Call an experienced attorney to handle your sexual abuse case


Sending or receiving sexually explicit photos of children is a crime. Each child that is in pornography is being exploited. 


At Corsiglia, McMahon, & Allard, we have a long history of representing sexually exploited victims against their abuser and the institutions that enabled their actions. If you or a loved one were a victim of Ernesto A. Cortez, please call 408-289-1417 for a free and confidential consultation.