Jury finds former Lake County undersheriff guilty of attempted incest, invasion of privacy

Posted at 6:59 PM, Dec 10, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-10 21:25:46-05

LEADVILLE, Colo. – A 5th Judicial District jury on Monday found former Lake County undersheriff Fernando Mendoza guilty of attempted aggravated incest and attempted invasion of privacy charges nearly a year after he was arrested and accused of sexually harassing several dispatchers and engaging in sexual conduct with his stepdaughter after a several-day trial.

Fernando Mendoza, 49, was convicted on charges of attempted aggravated incest, a class 4 felony, and of misdemeanor attempted invasion of privacy for sexual gratification.

The jury acquitted Mendoza of multiple other charges, including attempted sexual exploitation of a child, contributing to the delinquency of a minor and embezzlement.

Mendoza’s alleged conduct was first reported by Denver7, and he was fired in November 2017 after the allegations came to light.

According to an indictment, Mendoza started asking his stepdaughter in 2012 to send him nude photos of herself when she was either 14 or 15 years old. The indictment alleges that Mendoza also asked her to send him photos or videos of her engaged in sexual conduct with other people.

He allegedly kept a camera from the sheriff’s office in his stepdaughter’s bathroom and bedroom in order to watch her, court documents said.

At least three sheriff’s office employees also alleged to Denver7 that Mendoza, the former undersheriff, had sexually harassed them while at work.

Mendoza still faces two outstanding counts of official misconduct, which are petty offenses, in a separate case in Lake County that had previously been attached to the case the jury heard over the past week, court records indicate. There is a motions hearing in that case set for Jan. 31.

Mendoza is set to be sentenced for the attempted aggravated incest charge and attempted invasion of privacy charge on Feb. 21.