Newport News man sentenced for sexually assaulting young family member

A Newport News man was sentenced to 12 years in prison for sexually assaulting a family member over a two-year period in January 2024. A jury convicted Jose Santiago Cortijo of three counts of indecent liberties of a child as a custodian. Santiago Cortijo had sexually abused a child related to him between 2013 and 2015. As is incredibly common in sexual assault cases involving children, the child only reported the crimes to police after becoming an adult.

On April 12, 2024, Judge Michael E. McGinty sentenced Santiago Cortijo to 12 years in prison and three additional years of incarceration were suspended. Judge McGinty told the defendant, who had asked for mercy, that “mercy is something that is given when warranted. However, in this case it is not.” He also adopted the Commonwealth’s argument that Santiago Cortijo had broken a sacred bond in assaulting a child in his care.

“This office will continue to fight for survivors of sexual assault whenever they have the strength and ability to come forward.” said Commonwealth’s Attorney Howard Gwynn. “Every survivor of sexual assault lives with the trauma of their experiences, and we are here to support them.”

The victim, now a young adult, testified that Santiago Cortijo’s acts continue to affect her personal relationships and damaged her ability to trust others. Santiago Cortijo will be on five years of probation and required to register as a sex offender after he serves his prison term.

This case was prosecuted on behalf of the Commonwealth by Senior Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Jennifer Titter.

Newport News Commonwealth’s Attorney
Phone: 757-926-7443
2501 Washington Avenue, 6th Floor
Newport News, VA 23607

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The Newport News Commonwealth’s Attorney prosecutes criminal cases that occur within the City of Newport News, on behalf of the citizens of the Commonwealth. The elected Commonwealth’s Attorney is Mr. Howard E. Gwynn.