Sexual assault victims in case of Hialeah police officer devastated sentencing is only 3 years

Jesus “Jesse” Menocal, 34, pled guilty to three federal charges of violating the rights of victims and was sentenced to three years in prison.

HIALEAH, Fla. – It was a sentencing hearing that took longer than most on Thursday because of victim impact statements where they believe a former Hialeah police officer’s punishment doesn’t fit the crime.

In March, Jesus “Jesse” Menocal, 34, pled guilty to three federal charges of violating the rights of victims.

The FBI arrested Menocal, a decorated officer and SWAT team member in 2019. He was under investigation into alleged sexual assaults of four girls and women while on duty dating back to January 2015.

Under a prior indictment, which included a felony count, Menocal could have faced decades or life in prison. But with his plea deal, charges were lowed to federal misdemeanors reducing his sentence to three years in federal prison and one year of supervised release.

According to court documents, on June 13, 2015, Menocal asked an underage victim “to remove her shorts and underwear and turn around” for “his own sexual gratification.” Menocal is also accused of kidnapping and the “use and threatened use of a dangerous weapon.”

In a separate offense, Menocal is also accused of exposing himself to a second victim, forcing her hand to grab him while he kissed her.

The women say they are horrified, and traumatized and fear that after only a three-year sentence, Menocal could come after them.

Menocal cannot serve as a police officer anywhere at any time in the future after he serves his sentence.

A representative for Menocal spoke after Thursday’s hearing, answering no questions but for about six minutes shamed the victims, brought up Antifa for some reason and added that Menocal took the plea to avoid more legal fees.

On Friday, the United States Department of Justice released a statement and information about Menocal’s sentence.

“Jesus Menocal now faces the consequences for using his position to sexually abuse women,” said Deputy Special Agent in Charge John J. Bernardo of the FBI Miami Field Office.

“Menocal was sentenced to the statutory maximum which is a testament to the courage of his victims to come forward and tell their stories as well as the dedication of FBI Miami’s Civil Rights squad.”

The Department of Justice release specifically cited court documents saying “Menocal kissed a woman and caused her to touch his exposed penis; had a second woman, who was in psychiatric crisis, perform oral sex on him; and coerced a third woman, who was walking alone at night, into submitting to oral and vaginal sex. While not directly related to the offenses to which he pleaded guilty, Menocal also admitted to bringing a fourth female into a Hialeah Police Department building and ordering her to remove her shorts and underwear, causing her to expose her buttocks to him. Menocal admitted that he was on-duty and in uniform during all of these acts, abusing his official authority.”

About the Authors:

Glenna Milberg joined Local 10 News in September 1999 to report on South Florida's top stories and community issues. She also serves as co-host on Local 10's public affairs broadcast, "This Week in South Florida."

Saira Anwer joined the Local 10 News team in July 2018. Saira is two-time Emmy-nominated reporter and comes to South Florida from Madison, Wisconsin, where she was working as a reporter and anchor.