Hialeah, FL — Disgraced Hialeah Police Sergeant Jesus Manuel Menocal Jr., 34, of Miami pleaded guilty this month to sexually assaulting multiple victims, including two children aged 14 and 17 while on duty and in uniform. For using his badge to commit these crimes, he should be put away for decades but that will not happen and Menocal won't even have to register as a sex-offender.
“Menocal sexually exploited the very people he swore to protect,” said U.S. Attorney Juan Antonio Gonzalez of the Southern District of Florida. “He betrayed his oath as a police officer and cast a dark shadow over the outstanding work done by the fine law enforcement professionals who serve our communities. Such egregious civil rights violations will not be tolerated.”
On Friday, Menocal was granted an act of blue privilege that likely made his victims physically ill. In a last minute plea deal before U.S. District Judge Kathleen M. Williams, Menocal admitted his crimes — at least some of them. He admitted that he kissed a victim and caused her to touch his exposed penis; had a second victim, who was in psychiatric crisis, perform oral sex on him; and coerced a third victim, who was walking alone at night, into submitting to oral and vaginal sex.
A fourth victim who wasn't even tied to the offenses for which he pleaded guilty was also mentioned. In that case, Menocal admitted to bringing a fourth female into a Hialeah Police Department building and ordering her to remove her shorts and underwear, causing her to expose her buttocks to him. She was just 17.
Menocal admitted that he was on-duty and in uniform during all of these acts, abusing his official authority.
In fact, in 2019, a report from the Miami Herald found that Menocal brought another eight women and girls into a Hialeah police station without filing any reports, a violation of department procedure. Instead of being arrested at the time, Menocal was given a promotion and a raise.
The statements released from the prosecutors, though fiery, rang hollow given Menocal's sweetheart plea deal and years of blue privilege.
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“We will not stand by idly when law enforcement officials abuse their power and position to sexually exploit and harm women,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “The Civil Rights Division will continue to vigorously investigate and prosecute government officials who use the power of their office to sexually abuse and harm vulnerable people in their communities. We hope that this conviction sends a strong message to survivors of law enforcement sexual misconduct, that their allegations will be investigated and taken seriously.”
Apparently, this "strong message" means that cops who rape the citizens they are tasked with protecting, will likely get off scot free or face little more than a slap on the wrist.
According to federal court records, Menocal was originally indicted on three counts of depriving a person’s rights under the color of law — felonies.
Jude Faccidomo, Menocal’s attorney, told reporters that this plea deal knocks down the felonies to misdemeanors so his client won't even be subject to sex offender registration laws. And instead of decades in prison he now faces a maximum of just 1 year per count, for a total of three years.
“Jesse made a decision today as a father and as a son to put this case behind him,” Faccidomo told reporters on Friday. “The government prosecuted this case very aggressively and spared no expense. They employed some of their top tactics and skills. They decided to dismiss the felony counts, and Jesse pleaded to misdemeanors. Again, this means he can get on with his life.”
“Jesus Menocal is a predator who disgraced the badge he once wore by using his status as a police officer to sexually abuse women,” said Assistant Special Agent in Charge John J. Bernard of FBI Miami. “His actions are depraved and serve only to diminish the hard work and professionalism of the vast majority of South Florida law enforcement officers who follow their oath of office and whose conduct is above reproach.”
So, we are going to let him off with a slap on the wrist....