Former St. Paul public school teacher pleads guilty to sex with student

Court records show a former St. Paul Public Schools teacher has entered a guilty plea in connection with having sex with one of his students in December.

Pablo Alejandro Cortez, 50, of St. Paul pleaded guilty on Monday to one count of fifth-degree criminal sexual conduct in exchange for two years of probation and the dismissal of a fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct charge, according to court documents.

Cortez must also register as a sexual offender.

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According to a criminal complaint, Cortez, a biology teacher at AGAPE High School, and an 18-year-old student began talking in May of 2022. When the new school year began, Cortez taught one of her classes and the relationship eventually became inappropriate.

The complaint added that the student reported that they started texting and exchanging Snapchat messages that were “joking around but a little flirty,” then they agreed to meet after school one day early in December.

The criminal complaint states the two went to a parking ramp near Como Park, got into Cortez’s car and talked for some time, acknowledging that doing anything was wrong and would specifically put Cortez in danger of losing his job. However, they continued and, after Cortez exposed himself, the student performed oral sex on him, the complaint states.

According to the complaint, the student reported that she didn’t want to do anything more with Cortez but was scared after he exposed himself. She added that she felt numb driving home and “busted out crying,” adding that they agreed to never do it again.

Cortez resigned from his position on Dec. 30, 2022.