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Saturday, December 23, 2023

Passing The Trash

     In 2000, 37-year-old Wilbert Cortez, an elementary school teacher at PS 184 in Brooklyn, New York, was accused of inappropriately touching two of his male students. One of the boys reported the abuse to another teacher--three times. The teacher wrote a letter detailing the accusations and put the letter in Cortez's personnel file. Shortly after the students made their complaints school administrators decided to transfer Cortez to PS 174 in Queens. Instead of dealing with the problem, and if appropriate firing this teacher, they "passed the trash."

     On February 16, 2012 Queens District Attorney Richard Brown charged Wilbert Cortez, now 49, with the sexual abuse of two male elementary students in his computer lab class. The next day, after posting his $50,000 bail, Mr. Cortez walked out of the Queen's County Criminal Court building.

     The accused child molester, on May 29, 2012, was arraigned on additional charges that he repeatedly molested three male students at PS 174 in Queens between 2007 and 2011. Mr. Cortez faced up to seven years in prison on each count.

     When word got out that Wilbert Cortez had been accused of sexual molestation back in 2000 at PS 184 in Brooklyn, parents of children who had attended both schools were outraged that education administrators had swept the problem under the rug by sending him to Queens.

     Feeling the heat, Chancellor Dennis Walcott, on May 30, 2012, called an emergency meeting with these angry parents. More than 100 people attended the meeting held at PS 174. These concerned parents wanted to know why this teacher hadn't been investigated in 2000. Attendees also expressed concern that the school system's hiring procedures did not screen out pedophiles. Chancellor Walcott told those assembled that his staff would be digging through personnel files looking for old sexual complaints that had been ignored, and "take appropriate action where necessary."

     Chancellor Walcott's response, the promise to fix a problem that shouldn't have existed in the first place, didn't satisfy too many people at the meeting. Elementary schools in New York City and around the country were crawling with sex offenders because government laws and regulations limited what employers can legally ask job candidates about their past. As a result, pedophiles get into our schools. And once they are in, because of teacher's unions they were hard to remove. Administrators knew this, and for that reason find it easier to pass the trash. Public education is more about protecting teachers than protecting students from sexual predators. 

     On February 25, 2015 Wilbert Cortez pleaded guilty to inappropriately touching one student and endangering three others at PS 174 in Queens. Following his guilty plea Chancellor Walcott stripped him of his New York State teaching certificate.

     Because he had been allowed to plead down to relatively minor offenses the judge sentenced Wilbert Cortez to ten years of probation. The child molester was also required to register as a sex offender and undergo counseling. Like so many ex-public school teachers like him, he got off light. 


  1. “Elementary schools in New York City and around the country are crawling with sex offenders”


  2. Sadly from 1990 to 2000 he ruined lives at P.S 184. Who ever cared about those kids though. As I remember correctly no one ever gave a damn about me when he was making love to me in 1992. Jose Gutierrez swept every complaint under the rug for Cortez. Did you know Wilbert Cortez use to play in a live band in the early 1990's. How would I know this. Well he invited me to watch him play once after having several sexual interactions with me. Cortez was on the front of an album cover in a store on rockaway and pitkin ave. It was a spanish band. I think he played the drums or maybe the trumpet or saxophone. Can't really remember that well. But boy I would do anything to have that validated. He mafe me out to ne a liar so good I actually started to believe his rebuttals. He is a monster. Richard Brown has done a great service to society. Wilbert Cortez do not deserve to go to jail he deserves to die. If you read this Mr. Cortez!!! You remember the lil kid from 300 Riverdale. Classroom facing the 720 mothergaston, overlooking school yard. When I was 8 uears old you did things to me that was unlawful and horrible. You did a damn good job in getting Ms. Clark, And Mr.G to sweep it under the rug. And I'm not sure if they was so supportive of you or you just was a damn good liar but Mr Cortez. I'm grown now and You owe me my life back. You will admit to the world what you did to me. You will admit the truth. You lived your whole life in guilt running and ignoring the fact what you do hurt all of uf. All of us!!!!!! You plead guilty for the 3 kids in Queens. Will you do the same for me? Maybe you will never go to jail. Its probably too late to prove this. But for my peace of mind please tell me why did you do this for?? Why??? Don't you feel sorry??? Did you think of me all these years. Do you know I never stop thinking about you??? Do you know I have trust issues because of you. You are in my dreams some nights playing a drum or simetimes a see you leaning over me. DO YOU KNOW I AM TIRED????DO YOU KNOW..... I KNOW YOU FOLLOW THESE ARTICLES. I KNOW YOU DO. YOU MUST GET OFF KNOWING YOU ONLY GOT 10 YEARS PROBATION FOR 3 LIL BOYS WHEN YOU MOLESTED OVER 100'S. I NEED YOU SIR TO FIX THIS. I CANT KEEP CHASING AIR. YOU ARE MY PROBLEM CORTEZ AND UNTIL I SEE YOU AGAIN I CANNOT GET YOU OUT MY SYSTEM. YOU MUST FACE THIS WITH ME. YOU MUST SUFFER LIKE ME. YOU MUST COME CLEAN CORTEZ. TELL THE WORLD ABOUT PS 184 PLEASE ITS NOT JUST ABOUT REGO PARK. BROWNSVILLE BROOKLYN GOT SWEPT UNDER RUG. CORTEZ. YOU ESCAPED THE LAW. BUT YOU WILL NOT ESCAPE THE TORMENT YOU DID TO ME. I STILL REMEMBER. I WILL NEVER FORGET YOU. ITS NOT OVER

    1. I’m so sorry you had to experience this. I found your article because I caught a flashback of having a teacher who was accused of sexually abusing young boys. My husband was abused by a teacher growing up, and it rips me apart inside knowing an innocent child can be taken advantage of by such a monster. I have a son now, and because of people like Cortez he will never go to public school while he’s prepubescent. A good friend of mine in school was a victim to Cortez as well. Even I as I kid saw him as a good teacher and fun guy, only to grow up and realize just how disgusting of a human being he is. Those who abuse children should rot in hell. I’m sorry again and I hope you have a good life right now, you deserve it. Don’t let awful people take away your joy. Always keep those who love you close. - H