Former Los Banos Elementary School teacher will face time after convicted of child pornography charges

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A former Los Banos Elementary teacher will face time in jail after police reports say dozens of videos (KFSN)

A former Los Banos Elementary teacher will face time in jail after police reports say dozens of videos and pictures containing child pornography were in his laptop.

On Tuesday, a judge sentenced Ernesto Cortez to nine months in jail after he pled no contest to child sex crime charges two weeks after his arrest.

"It is unusual for a defendant to show up at the first court date and say he wants to plead a lot of time, they want time to speak with their attorneys to make sure they're making the right decision," said Prosecuting Attorney Katie Gates.

Cortez was arrested back in August after investigators were notified of the images by an internet crime against children task force.

Police reports say officers found a laptop in his home containing 20 folders of explicit pictures and more than 40 videos contained child pornography in.

"He's a teacher and has access to kids around the age of the victim," said Prosecuting Attorney Katie Gates.

She says his plea was entered before the investigation was even completed.

"It may be possible to file additional charges. It might not be because he's already pled to this case--so it depends on what is found," said Gates.

Along with jail time, Cortez will be required to serve three years' probation, register as a sex offender, and have several restrictions. Whether he will still be able to live near a school or not will depend on an evaluation by the probation department.

"At this point, there's no allegation he's ever touched, harmed, or photographed or done anything. The evidence is contrary so there's no basis for the restriction," said Defense Attorney Mark Coleman.

Cortez's attorney says he is deeply remorseful and ashamed of the crime. He moved out of Merced County.

"He felt bad. He didn't want to be around the community to remind people. He wanted to simply remove himself from the area and let people go on and heal," said Coleman.
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