Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom announced that Mark Matthew Cortes, age 25, formerly of Hastings, pled guilty this afternoon to one count of Criminal Sexual Conduct (a felony) in connection with the sexual abuse of his daughter. On August 22, 2013, Cortes was convicted in federal court to 30 years in prison in connection with the production and distribution of child pornography. Judge Tim Wermager sentenced Cortes to 144 months in prison to run concurrent with his federal sentence.
Mark Cortes sexually abused his daughter and filmed the abuse, which was later distributed to others. Additionally, both Cortes and Hughes were in possession of this and other pornographic work involving children. Hughes was aware of the abuse to her daughter and failed to protect her.
Amanda Hughes pleaded guilty on March 1, 2013 to one count each of Possession of Pornographic Work Involving Minors and Endangerment of a Child (both felonies). She was sentenced to 180 days in jail and five years of probation.
Backstrom comments: “We are pleased to have convicted Mark Cortes in this deeply disturbing crime.”
Backstrom praised Assistant County Attorney Jessica Bierwerth who prosecuted the case. Backstrom thanked the FBI, the Hastings Police Department and Dakota County Child Protection for their work in this case.
If you have questions, contact James Backstrom at 651-438-4440.