RIVERHEAD, Long Island (WABC) -- A defrocked priest pleaded not guilty Monday to charges of sexually abusing a young girl on Long Island.
Augusto Cortez, 53, pleaded not guilty to criminal sexual act, sexual abuse and endangering the welfare of a child, said Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota said.
Spota said the crimes occurred in June 2014 and Cortez was indicted by a grand jury in October of that year.
But Cortez fled to South America in 2014 to avoid arrest, officials said. He was arrested by Southampton Town police April 22 when he was returned to the U.S.
He is being held without bail and is scheduled to return to court May 15.
Cortez is a registered sex offender; he was convicted of forcible touching in Brooklyn in 2009.
He was part of Diocese of Rockville Centre's Hispanic Apostolate and worked at St. Rosalie Parish in Hampton Bays.