A.L. man allegedly touched 7-year-old girl

Published 9:40 am Tuesday, January 31, 2012

An Albert Lea man was charged with criminal sexual conduct in the second degree after allegedly touching a 7-year-old girl.

Armando Mendez Jr., 21, faces a felony charge for criminal sexual conduct with a victim under age 13 and the defendant more than 36 months older than the victim. He appeared with public defender Kevin Riha in Freeborn County District Court Monday in front of Judge Ross Leuning.

Armando Mendez Jr.

Mendez will not be able to enter a plea until an omnibus hearing at a later date.

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Court documents said Albert Lea police were called to a residence on Jan. 15 by someone wishing to report a sexual assault. The girl’s mother told police her daughter had gone to the basement of the residence to watch Mendez play video games, and when she thought it was too quiet she went downstairs to check on them.

She reported that the girl and Mendez were lying on the floor, and the girl had her underwear and pants off. The mother told officers she could tell Mendez had an erection and had both a shirt and sweatpants on. The girl’s mother also said she thought Mendez was taking two prescription drugs, Seroquel, which is often used to treat schizophrenia, and Depakote, which treats certain types of seizures.

During an interview with an Albert Lea Police Department detective, Mendez said the girl took off her pants and underwear and then he touched her. The detective asked him why she would take her pants off, and Mendez replied that he might have helped her take her pants off.

He also said then she got on top of him but noted he was still wearing his pants. Mendez also told the detective this was the second time he had touched the girl. He said the first time was a few weeks earlier when he touched her outside of her clothes.

The bail for Mendez was set at $50,000 with conditions including no contact with victim or family, no contact with anyone under age 18, to remain law-abiding and obtain permission before leaving the state, among others.

The charge carries a maximum penalty of 25 years in prison or $35,000, or both.