ALBUQUERQUE—Cornallsen Cortez, 31, an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation who resides in Navajo, New Mexico, pleaded guilty this morning to a felony information charging him with abusive sexual contact with a child. Under the terms of his plea agreement, Cortez will be sentenced to nine years in federal prison, followed by a term of supervised release to be determined by the court. Cortez also will be required to register as a sex offender.
Cortez was arrested in March 2013, based on a criminal complaint alleging that he sexually abused a 12-year-old child in November 2012 in a residence located on the Navajo Indian Reservation. During today’s proceedings, Cortez pleaded guilty to abusive sexual contact with a minor and admitted that on November 28, 2012, he sexually abused a 12-year-old child by touching the child inappropriately.
Cortez has been in federal custody since his arrest and remains detained pending his sentencing hearing, which has yet to be scheduled.
This case was investigated by the Albuquerque and Gallup Offices of the FBI and the Window Rock, Arizona Office of the Navajo Nation Division of Public Safety. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennifer M. Rozzoni as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice (DOJ) to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by United States Attorneys’ Offices and DOJ’s Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to better locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims.