On Wednesday, seventy-year-old (70) Andres Mendoza, an assistant on a special-needs school bus in Phoenix, was arrested and faces charges of sexual conduct with a minor and child molestation. According to Phoenix Police, Mr. Mendoza, who had worked for the Washington School District for seven (7) years, was reported by the bus driver he was aiding after the driver saw Mr. Mendoza fondling the student. The bus’ video surveillance was reviewed by Detectives from the Family Investigations Bureau’s Child Crimes Unit where the Detectives witnessed Mr. Mendoza touching the victim on top of and underneath of her clothing. The Victim was interviewed by Detectives at which time Detectives learned that Mr. Mendoza had been fondling the Victim since June 27th. Mr. Mendoza told Police that he touched the Victim but said he was merely “playing around” with the Child.
According to Arizona Revised Statute § 13-1405, “A person commits sexual conduct with a minor by intentionally or knowingly engaging in sexual intercourse or oral sexual contact with any person who is under the age of eighteen.” Under this statute, sexual conduct with a child under the age of fifteen (15) is a Class 2 Felony, and sexual conduct with a minor who is fifteen years of age or older is a Class 6 Felony. The penalties for sexual conduct with a minor vary depending on the age of the offender and the age of the victim: (1) If the child abuse victim is fifteen (15) years or older, the offense is punishable by one (1) year in prison; (2) If the offender is at least eighteen (18) years of age or is tried as an adult and the child abuse victim is between the ages of twelve (12) and fourteen (14), the presumptive sentence is twenty (20) years in prison; and (3) If the offender is at least eighteen (18) years of age or is tried as an adult and the child abuse victim is age twelve (12) or younger, the offense is punishable by life in prison without the possibility of parole until the offender has served thirty-five (35) years in prison. In addition, conviction of a sex offense in Arizona may require lifelong sex offender registration.
If you have been charged with sexual conduct with a minor, contact the Phoenix child abuse attorneys at the child abuse law firm Oracle Law Group for assistance with your child abuse case.