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Ex-Lake County undersheriff accused of attempted incest, harassment appears in court

Posted at 12:28 PM, Dec 13, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-13 21:07:21-05

LAKE COUNTY, Colo. – Former Lake County undersheriff Fernando Mendoza — arrested Tuesday on several charges related to attempted child sex and harassment allegations — made his initial appearance in court.

Mendoza is accused of sexually harassing several 911 dispatchers, as first reported by Denver7. He was also indicted on attempted child sex charges and embezzlement.

During his court appearance Wednesday, a judge granted restraining orders for his seven alleged victims. His bond was set at $100,000 with several conditions, including no contact with children.

Denver7 report called Mendoza into question on Nov. 7 related to claims he sexually harassed several women in his office. Mendoza was fired from the Lake County Sheriff’s Office several weeks ago in response to those allegations.

Fifth Judicial District Attorney Bruce Brown said Tuesday Mendoza faces charges of attempted incest, attempted sexual exploitation of a minor, and contributing to the delinquency of a minor charges. Brown said Mendoza allegedly tried to entice his stepdaughter into posting nude photos on the internet.

According to the 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.

Further, the indictment states, Mendoza on three occasions sat in a recliner with his erect penis exposed, and asked the girl to help him masturbate.

Brown said Mendoza also faces one count of embezzlement of a public property and a count of attempted invasion of privacy for sexual gratification. Mendoza allegedly took a camera from the sheriff’s office that was kept in his home, and put it in his stepdaughter's bedroom and bathroom in order to watch her undress, according to the indictment.

Brown also said that Mendoza faces two counts of second-degree official misconduct in relation to the sexual harassment allegations levied against him by several female 911 staffers.

It was learned Wednesday that Mendoza also participated in the Lake County School District's girls volleyball program. District officials said Mendoza was a line judge during tournaments but stressed he was a limited contract worker and never employed by the district. Officials said he would no longer participate in the program.

The sheriff’s office put in place new sexual harassment training since Mendoza was fired, and county commissioners said earlier this month they would be having meetings in December wither each of the county’s departments to be sure employees understand the new policies.