Woodstock man charged following human trafficking investigation

32-year-old charged with indecent solicitation of a child, grooming

Jesus Cortez of Woodstock

A 32-year-old Woodstock man was arrested last week during a sting planned and executed by McHenry County’s Human Trafficking Task Force, authorities said.

Jesus Cortez, of the 1900 block of Sheila Street, was charged with indecent solicitation of a child and grooming, according to the criminal complaint.

The complaint alleges that between Nov. 2 and Dec. 28, Cortez solicited a child or someone he thought to be a child to perform a sexual act. It also alleges he used an online service during the same period to groom a child or someone he thought to be a child.

The charges are both Class 4 felonies, which typically can carry sentences of one to three years in prison but are also probational.

“This investigation is the culmination of weeks of work by law enforcement, which included numerous covert conversations and undercover operations,” McHenry County State’s Attorney Patrick Kenneally and Woodstock Police Chief John Lieb said in a joint statement.

Cortez came under investigation after his online behavior “gained the attention” of online monitoring systems and because he is a Woodstock resident, the case was referred to the McHenry County Human Trafficking Task Force and the Woodstock Police Department, Woodstock Police Chief John Lieb said.

The charges filed are based on communication Cortez is alleged to have had with a member of the task force who purported to be a teenager, Lieb said, adding it is unknown at this time if communication with other children may have taken place.

“Thank you to the police departments and federal agencies that participated in the Taskforce as we continue to confront the urgent problem of human trafficking in all its forms throughout the County,” Kenneally said in the statement.

Lieb said these types of cases have been increasing.

“This is a huge issue for this country, if not the world, but it affects Woodstock as well,” Lieb said. “We are not immune.”

The McHenry County Human Trafficking Task Force is made up of the Algonquin, Cary, Crystal Lake, Huntley, Lake in the Hills, Johnsburg, McHenry, Spring Grove and Woodstock police departments, as well as the McHenry County State’s Attorney’s Office.

An attempt to reach Cortez’s attorney Thursday was not immediately successful.

Cortez was released from the McHenry County jail on Saturday after posting 10% of the $50,000 bond, McHenry County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Emily Matusek said.