Hialeah officer previously accused of sexual misconduct fired amid federal charges

HIALEAH, FLA. (WSVN) - A Hialeah Police officer who was previously accused by four women and teenagers of sexual misconduct appeared in federal court to face some serious felony charges and has since been terminated.

Hialeah Police Sgt. Jesús Menocal Jr. has been charged with two counts of deprivation of rights under the color of law, meaning that in his role as a police officer, he’s accused of violating the rights of two citizens, one in early 2015 and the other on June 13 of the same year.

The charges came after FBI agents arrested the 32-year-old at the department’s headquarters, Friday morning.

In 2015, four women and teenagers came forward with allegations of sexual misconduct against Menocal, accusing him of using his badge and police presence to scare them into sexual favors.

The one who was allegedly targeted on June 13, now 17, shared her story with 7News at the time.

“Honestly, [I thought] I was going to get raped. I thought he would make me sleep with him,” said the teen, who was not identified.

The teen said she and her girlfriend were pulled over by Menocal, then she was taken into the police station alone.

“He puts down his weapon belt, and he starts rubbing on his private part … and he tells me to take off my pants. If not, I was going to get arrested,” she said.

The teen said she did what she was told out of fear.

“He says, ‘Oh, I thought you wanted to [expletive],'” she said.

At the time of the allegations, Menocal was relieved of patrol duty but still worked with the department.

The Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office reviewed the case and ultimately decided not to pursue charges. The police department’s internal investigation concluded, and Menocal returned to his normal job duties in 2016.

Hialeah Police Chief Sergio Velazquez spoke to 7News about the investigation back in 2016.

“I understand the allegations are serious allegations, and we took them as very serious allegations,” Velazquez said, “and that’s why we are still on the path of finding the final resolution and the truth. I already explained the different stages, and when [Menocal] was on the street, he was no longer facing any sexual allegations.”

Menocal was put back on desk duty in early 2019 as the FBI began their own investigation into the allegations.

Friday afternoon, Velazquez confirmed Menocal’s termination in a news conference.

“Sgt. Menocal would be terminated from employment from the Hialeah Police Department immediately,” he said as he read a statement, “and in my closing, I once again commend the FBI for all the work they have done and will always look forward to working with them.”

Menocal is being held on $250,000 bond. If convicted, he could face life in prison.

In a statement, his attorney, Michael Grieco, said, “It’s Day 1. I am simply happy we were able to swiftly secure his release today. He still sits not guilty in the eyes of the law, and we look forward to learning more about the government’s case in the upcoming weeks.”

More than a dozen family members were on hand at the federal courthouse on Friday. They declined to address his charges as they left.

A family member of one of the alleged victims said they are relieved and thankful to hear about the arrest.

Menocal is due back in court for his arraignment on Wednesday.

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