Self proclaimed ‘trained liar’ sentenced for attempted incest on his stepdaughter
Former Lake County Undersheriff Fernando Mendoza jailed 15 months, possible probation for life
LEADVILLE – The former Lake County undersheriff bragged that no one would believe his incest victim because he’s a “trained liar.”
The jury believed her, and now Fernando Mendoza is a convicted sex offender and felon sentenced Friday to 15 months behind bars and 10 years to life on probation.
Mendoza, 49, was sentenced for First Degree Aggravated Incest, Attempt to Commit First Degree Aggravated Incest and Attempt to Commit Invasion of Privacy for Sexual Gratification. If he violates his probation he could go to prison for life.
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.
District Attorney Bruce Brown’s office began investigating Mendoza in October 2017, after three female 911 dispatchers reported Mendoza for harassing them. The women said that Mendoza had repeatedly sent them lewd messages, both while they were on duty and off. The allegations soon spread beyond the department.
One victim is Mendoza’s stepdaughter and was a minor at the time of the allegations. She claimed that as far back as 2012, when she was a teenager, Mendoza tried to entice her to post nude photos of herself online.
Prosecutors said Mendoza was “grooming” his step-daughter during that period. Grooming is when a child is subject to a sexual predator’s action that might appear normal, but is intended to build trust and manipulate the child into sexual activity, prosecutors said.
Because of his position, Mendoza arrogantly bragged that nobody would believe the victim if she spoke out because he was “a trained liar” — an outrageous reference to his law enforcement status, prosecutors said.
Now a convicted sex offender, Mendoza was ordered by the Lake County District Court Judge Jonathan Shamis to participate in sex offender treatment. Mendoza must also register as a sex offender wherever he lives upon his release.
“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,” Brown said when Mendoza was convicted. “I can only hope the victim and those whose lives he has harmed can heal.”