Jury convicts former Lake County undersheriff Fernando Mendoza guilty of aggravated incest
LEADVILLE — A Lake County jury convicted the former Lake County undersheriff on two sex assault charges late Monday afternoon, Dec. 10.
Fernando Mendoza was found guilty by a jury on two counts: Attempt to commit first degree aggravated incest, a felony, and attempt to commit invasion of privacy for sexual gratification, a misdemeanor.
The jury acquitted Mendoza of the other two charges against him. Mendoza was taken directly to jail after the verdicts were entered. His bond was raised to $250,000.
“These despicable acts were perpetrated upon a family member and further trampled on community trust, given the defendant’s position as a high-ranking, local law enforcement officer at the time of the crimes,” said Bruce Brown, 5th Judicial District Attorney. “I can only hope the victim and those lives he has harmed can heal after today’s verdict.”
Mendoza’s sentencing is scheduled for 2 p.m. Feb. 21 in Lake County. He faces a lengthy term in the Department of Corrections and mandatory sex offender treatment, Brown said.
Colorado Bureau of Investigation and the District Attorney’s Office collaborated on the case investigation.
What Mendoza did
Mendoza was fired from the Lake County Sheriff’s Office amid sexual harassment allegations.
Those allegations became seven criminal charges when a grand jury indicted him.
Brown’s office began investigating Mendoza in October 2017, after three female 911 dispatchers reported Mendoza for harassing them. The women told Denver7 that Mendoza had repeatedly sent them lewd messages while they were on and off duty. The allegations soon spread beyond the department.
One victim is related to Mendoza and was a minor at the time of the allegations. She claims that as far back as 2013, Mendoza tried to entice her to post nude photos of herself online, Brown told the Summit Daily News.
Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and rwyrick@vail daily.com.
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