“Dangerous” Harpenden rapist sentenced to 15 years

Oscar Abernethy-Cortez is a "dangerous sexual predator" who has been sentenced to 15 years

Oscar Abernethy-Cortez is a "dangerous sexual predator" who has been sentenced to 15 years - Credit: Archant

A “dangerous sexual predator” from Harpenden has been sentenced to 15 years after he raped three teenage girls.

Oscar Abernethy-Cortez, 24, of Bramble Close, twice raped a 14-year-old when he was 16. Then eight years later, in 2016, he raped a 17-year-old and 18-year-old in his bedroom.

On Friday (July 14) he was being sentenced for these four crimes after being convicted in May.

When he committed the two later offences he was already on licence and a registered sex offender, following a 2013 conviction for having sex with a 14-year-old girl in a car and assault by penetration of a 15-year-old girl.

At Luton crown court Judge Richard Foster, The Honorary Recorder for Luton, told him: “It seems to me you have been a serial sex offender since you were about 16 years of age.”

The judge went on: “I have no doubt you are a dangerous sexual predator.”

He said because of the risk of further offending Abernethy-Cortez posed, a “public protection sentence” was called for.

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Judge Foster sentenced Abernethy-Cortez to an “extended” sentence of 15 years telling him that the custodial element was a 10 year jail term and a licence period of five years.

A month before the two 2016 crimes, Abernethy-Cortez had been released from prison for sex offences and was subject to a sexual offences prevention order.

At his trial in May prosecutor Abigail Husbands said: “The defendant targeted young naive women.”

Abernethy-Cortez denied all four charges of rape, but was found guilty by the jury.

Before he was sentenced, the court heard that in 2011 he had been convicted of taking a child in care and engaging in penetrative sexual activity with them.

Before being led from the court to begin his sentence Abernethy-Cortez was told he would have to serve two thirds of the 10 year jail term before he could be even considered for release by the parole board.

Herts police’s Sexual Offences Investigation Team’s Det Con John Wilden said the investigation moved “swiftly”: “Abernethy-Cortez is a predatory sex offender who targeted vulnerable teenagers before raping them.”

Adding: “I would like to pay tribute to Abernethy-Cortez’s victims. Without their courage and bravery, he would not now be behind bars and I am certain would be targeting other young and vulnerable girls for sex.”

An NSPCC spokesman for the East of England said: “Abernethy-Cortez is a dangerous sexual predator and it is right that he has been returned to prison for his sickening crimes and to protect others.

“The victims in this case must be commended for their courage in speaking out and we hope they are getting the appropriate support to help rebuild their lives.”

Adding that “simply locking Abernethy-Cortez up won’t be enough” – he should be rehabilitated to tackle he risk he poses when reentering society.

The NSPCC helpline for everyone concerned about abuse is 0808 800 5000, for child victims it is 0800 1111.