HAMPTON BAYS, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- A little girl was allegedly sexually abused by a suspended Catholic priest who was a close family friend, and who had been charged with similar a crime in the past.
As CBS 2's Lou Young reported exclusively Monday night, the 6-year-old, who has been diagnosed with a sexually-transmitted disease, said the abuse happened more times than she can remember. CBS 2 met her at her family's home in Hampton Bays.
The girl identified her assailant as Augusto Cortez, 50, a suspended Catholic priest who should have been on everyone's radar as a potential threat, Young reported.
Her mother told us how she found Cortez – a once trusted family friend and guest – at a backyard party on a couch with the child four months ago.
"Her face, it showed the fear, but what mostly really assured me was he walked away and he pulled up his zipper right away," the girl's mother said.
Cortez was picked up and questioned for several hours at Southampton police headquarters, and was released even though he is a sex offender on probation. After that, he since vanished, and CBS 2 is told the Suffolk County District Attorney's office is actively looking for him.
"He's on probation in Brooklyn for exactly the same crime -- molesting a child," said the victim's attorney, Michael Dowd.
The Brooklyn District Attorney's office said it was the forcible touching of a 12-year-old girl in 2008 at a school across the street from his former residence at the Vincentian religious order in Bedford-Stuyvesant.
The Vincentian religious order wrote letters on Cortez's behalf back then, when he received six years' probation. But the order now seems to be washing its hands.
"We have fully co-operated with law enforcement officials… so that Mr. Cortez may be located as soon as possible and brought to justice," the order said in a statement.
But Dowd was quick to add, "It comes too late for one 6 year-old."
Dowd said the statement also perhaps came too late for other victims who have not come forward.
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