Convention center supervisor charged with assaulting coworker no longer employed by city

Juan Cortez scheduled to go to trial May 2

Building Maintenance Officer Juan Cortez was allowed to return to work at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center after bonding out on a misdemeanor assault charge last year. (Joshua Saunders, KSAT)

SAN ANTONIO – A Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center supervisor accused of assaulting a coworker has left his position with the city, weeks before he is scheduled to go to trial in the case.

Juan Cortez retired from his position of building maintenance officer effective April 8, a convention center spokesman confirmed this week.

Recommended Videos

Additional details about Cortez’s decision to step down were not provided.

He was arrested last summer, weeks after KSAT Investigates exposed footage of him yanking a subordinate’s hair while both were on duty.

City surveillance camera footage showed him grabbing the hair of maintenance employee Maria Villegas as she walked alongside coworkers near a convention center loading dock in August 2021.

Villegas was diagnosed with a neck strain after the incident and at one point was instructed by her doctor not to lift anything at work over 20 pounds.

For nearly a year, however, law enforcement took no formal action against Cortez.

Eleven days after KSAT Investigates showed the hair-pulling footage to the public for the first time as part of a story detailing sexual, emotional and physical trauma caused by male supervisors inside the city-run building, a warrant was issued for Cortez’s arrest.

Convention center officials allowed Cortez to return to work while his criminal case was pending.

Cortez is scheduled to go to trial on the misdemeanor charge in County Court 12 on May 2.

Surveillance footage shows supervisor Juan Cortez pull the hair of Maria Villegas near a convention center loading dock in August 2021. (KSAT)

Separately, a convention center maintenance supervisor resigned in January after two female employees accused him of sexually inappropriate behavior in the workplace.

Michael Talamantes resigned on Jan. 20, a day after the women, a city maintenance employee and a contract worker who were both assigned to the massive city facility, detailed their complaints in writing.

Talamantes, a maintenance crew leader, had been placed on administrative leave with pay the same day the accusations came to light, personnel records obtained by KSAT Investigates show.

He was at least the fifth maintenance supervisor at the convention center to be accused of improperly treating female coworkers in recent years.

WARNING: Sexually graphic content below

In a two-page handwritten complaint, one female employee said Talamantes attempted to choke her in a bathroom while she was cleaning toilets and then grabbed her buttocks.

She wrote that Talamantes was trying to have sex with her.

During a second incident in a skirting room, Talamantes pulled her pants halfway down before she grabbed them and was able to pull them back up, the complaint states.

Talamantes later told the woman he could not stop thinking about her “pink panties,” according to the complaint.

He also tried to convince the woman to have sex with him in a single bathroom, she wrote.

In a fourth incident, Talamantes again tried to take down her pants, and “while choking” her, tried to assault her, eventually calling her a bit**, the complaint states.

During a fifth incident in an elevator, an aroused Talamantes exposed himself to the woman, she wrote.

In a separate written complaint dated the same day, Jan. 19, a second employee said Talamantes became “very aggressive” after she told him she was not comfortable with him touching her, records show.

She wrote that Talamantes grabbed her buttocks without her consent. He then accused her of sleeping with a male coworker and sent “perverted” and “stalker type” messages to her phone, the complaint states.

Talamantes has not responded to requests from KSAT to comment on the accusations.

City officials said neither female employee chose to pursue criminal complaints against Talamantes with the San Antonio Police Department.

About the Author

Emmy-award winning reporter Dillon Collier joined KSAT Investigates in September 2016. Dillon's investigative stories air weeknights on the Nightbeat and on the Six O'Clock News. Dillon is a two-time Houston Press Club Journalist of the Year and a Texas Associated Press Broadcasters Reporter of the Year.

Recommended Videos