Florida officer indicted for allegations of on duty sexual abuse, threats, kidnapping
HIALEAH, Fla. – A Florida officer was arrested Friday on charges related to his alleged sexual abuse of a woman and an underage girl, both of which involved the use of a dangerous weapon.
An indictment unsealed by a federal grand jury in Miami on Thursday alleged that Hialeah Police Officer Jesus Manuel Menocal Jr. forced the minor to remove her clothing “for his own sexual gratification,” according to a press release from the Justice Department. The alleged offense included kidnapping and the threatened use of a deadly weapon.
In another incident, Menocal Jr., 32, allegedly exposed himself to a woman and grabbed her while on-duty – also while threatening to use a dangerous weapon.
Both alleged incidents took place in 2015, investigators said.
The Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office had investigated complaints about Menocal in 2016 but declined to prosecute him, according to the Miami Herald. The paper reported that four other women had accused Menocal of sexual abuse, but the state attorney’s office reportedly interviewed only one of them.
After the Herald’s report, the case was reopened last month. Hialeah Police Department spokesman Eddie Rodriquez told the paper that the department has been “working hand in hand with federal authorities.”
He continued, “Pending the federal grand jury results, Sgt. Menocal will be disciplined as deemed appropriate.”
The FBI arrested Menocal at the Hialeah Police Department on Friday, The New York Times reported. He later was released on bail.
Hialeah Police Department Chief Sergio Velázquez defended his decision to previously reinstate Menocal during a press conference on Friday. Although he could not provide specific information, the chief said a “new development” occurred, which led to the indictment.
Menocal’s attorney did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment.
Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle said in a statement Friday that her office “did not have sufficient evidence to ethically file state sexual assault charges” but commended the FBI “for successfully gathering enough evidence to make these civil-rights charges possible.”
Menocal would face life in prison if he’s found guilty of depriving the victims of their civil rights, according to FOX.