Robert Victor Cortez, 44, Joplin, formerly of Mexico, Mo., who pleaded guilty in October to two counts of Sexual Contact with a Student, was sentenced Monday to eight years in Department of Corrections, subject to completion of the Department of Corrections 120-day Sexual Offender Assessment Program inside the prison. Cortez pleaded guilty on October 20 to charges stemming from September, 2016 on two counts of Sexual Contact with a Student. Cortez is a former band director at Mexico High School.

“Robert Cortez’s sentence is firm and the maximum sentence allowable under Missouri law – four

years on each count to run consecutive to each other for a total of eight years,” Shellabarger said in a news release. “The

victim and his family felt strongly that Cortez should face a strict and severe punishment, but also to not serve the maximum sentence unless he violates his probation. Cortez will register as a sex offender and be subject to an intensive program inside the Department of Corrections where he must face the consequences of his actions and the damage he has done to this family and our community. If he successfully completes the program, he has an opportunity to be placed on probation under strict supervision," said Prosecuting Attorney Jacob Shellabarger.

“In Audrain County, if you commit a sexual assault: no matter who you are, we will find you, we will thoroughly investigate your case, and you will be prosecuted fully, fairly and without hesitation,” Shellabarger said.