Former Hialeah police sergeant pleads not guilty in federal court

Jesus Menocal Jr. fired after arrest last week

MIAMI – A former Hialeah police sergeant entered a plea of not guilty during an appearance in federal court Wednesday morning.

Jesus Menocal Jr. was arrested last week on federal civil rights violations, accused of using his position as a police officer to pressure two women, one of whom was underage at the time, to have sex with him while he was on duty in 2015.

Prosecutors claim that Menocal, “for his own sexual gratification, directed (one of the victims) to remove her shorts and underwear and turn around. It is further alleged that the offense including kidnapping, and the use and threatened use of a dangerous weapon.”

The indictment goes on to say that Menocal “exposed his bare penis to (the second victim), placed her hand on his penis and kissed her.”

“What stands out is that this was a violation of these two victims’ rights by someone who they put their trust in,” former state and federal prosecutor David Weinstein told Local 10 News reporter Christina Vazquez.

Hialeah Police Chief Sergio Velazquez fired Menocal after his initial court appearance last week, saying his department has "no tolerance for improper behavior."

“Everyone’s entitled to a defense and everyone who is accused of a crime is innocent until proven guilty,” defense attorney Mike Grieco said. “I’m looking forward to learning more about the case, getting information from the government. Right now was simply the arraignment. We entered our plea of not guilty and we’ll see how it goes.”

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