Information provided by Hollister Police Department. An arrest is an allegation and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
The Hollister Police Department announced that on Nov. 17, it arrested Hollister resident Gilbert Cortez, 74, on several charges of sexual assault of male juveniles dating back to the early 1990s -2000s.
Police said that on Oct. 12 one of Cortez’s victims contacted the Hollister Police Department to report the crimes committed against him when he was a juvenile. After the initial report was taken by Hollister Police Officer Macierz, it was forwarded to detectives for further investigation. Detective Morgan received the report and began to conduct an investigation into the alleged sexual assaults.
The release said Morgan found several previous reports of sexual assaults against minors from the 1990s and 2000s with Cortez as the suspect. However, Cortez was never arrested or charged for those crimes because the statute of limitations (based on how long ago they had occurred and the criminal statutes at the time) had expired.
“Knowing the magnitude of the crimes reported and the number of possible victims of unreported crimes, Detective Morgan solicited the help of Detective Torres and the District Attorney’s Office,” the release said.
Police said Morgan and Torres began contacting previously documented victims and the possible victims named by others involed.
“Due to some of the alleged crimes dating back to the 1980s it was a difficult task finding the people involved and those willing to come forward,” the press release said. “Detective Morgan and T. Torres were able to find two victims who revealed alleged sexual crimes that had reportedly been committed against them by Cortez and that were within the statute of limitations.”
It continued to say that with the help of the District Attorney’s Office, Morgan and Torres identified applicable crimes within the criminal statues and began to coordinate Cortez’s arrest.
Police said that on Nov. 17 Hollister Police detectives, Hollister Police officers, and United Narcotics Enforcement Team (UNET) agents executed a search warrant for Cortez’s residence in the 100 block of College and took him into custody.
“Cortez was booked into the San Benito County Jail on two separate allegations of sexual assault. The first charge was penal code section 288(a) (Lewd or lascivious acts on a minor) from crimes alleged between 1989 to early 1990’s with a bail amount of $1,000,000,” Police said. “The second charge was penal code section 288.5(a) (continuous sexual abuse of a minor) from crimes alleged between mid-1990’s to early 2000’s with a bail amount of $1,000,000.”
Policed added that the investigation revealed there may be other unreported similar crimes committed against other children dating back to the early 1980s. Cortez has lived and been involved in the Hollister community coaching Little League and various other community functions since the 1970s. Police urged anyone with information or who is aware of any victims of sexual crimes allegedly committed by Cortez to come forward and assist them in furthering their investigation.
“The Hollister Police Department knows victims of sexual abuse often suffer in silence through difficult and painful memories,” police said. “The effects of this abuse can drastically alter their lives and continue to affect them today. Many would not want to relive these memories or events, but we urge anyone who may have been victimized by Cortez or anyone else to stand with the victims who have come forward thus far.”
The Hollister Police Department also thanked the victims who came forward and allow HPD to conduct a complete investigation and seek justice on their behalf.
“The Hollister Police Department stands ready to help and seek justice for victims of sexual assaults,” police said. “We will work with our law enforcement partners to hold those responsible accountable for their actions; no matter how long it has been.”
Police said that if you are a victim of an unreported sexual assault and you don’t feel ready to come forward, there are resources available to victims of sexually related crimes including:
- Community Solutions: 1-877-363-7238, www.communitysolutions.org
- Victim Services Unit: 1-831-634-1397
- Rape, Abuse, Incest, National Network: 1-800-656-HOPE, www.rainn.org
- Victim Compensation Program: 1-800-777-9229, www.victimcompensation.ca.gov
- San Benito County District Attorney’s Office Victim Advocates: 1-831-636-4120
This is an ongoing investigation. Anyone with information regarding this investigation is asked by HPD to contact Detective Morgan at 831-638-4331. Persons wishing to remain anonymous may call WeTip at (800) 78-CRIME. According to Police, information provided to WeTip may qualify for a reward.