Youth ministry leader charged with sexuality assaulting male parishioner

Juan Mendez, 27, is charged with a crime that allegedly happened 5 years ago while he was working as a youth minister in North Carolina.

A man who was 17-years-old at the time told police that Mendez sexually assaulted him while he was working at his church.

All we know about the victim is that he now lives in California and is a writer.

Court documents obtained reveal the nature of the crime and describe sexual penetration of the victim. In court, prosecutors said Mendez asked the victim to babysit his children and then touched him inappropriately the night of October 27th. The victim testified that he forcefully touched him again when he attempted to leave the house.

The defense acknowledges Mendez acted inappropriately but says Mendez never felt the contact was forceful.

The victim was the first witness called to the stand and testified for 2 1/2 hours.

He confirmed the testimony of prosecutors and said he is worried for other children that Mendez may come in contact with which is why he is trying to bring light to this alleged crime against him.

Mendez was charged and arrested in January of this year and went before a judge three times after that, requesting he be released from jail on bond.

The victim said it was due to his mental and physical health that he took such a long time to press charges. He testified that the incident caused an earlier eating disorder to reappear and him to leave college for some time.

Eight others testified, including several friends and mentors the alleged victim said he has confided in since the incident. Two of Mendez's friends, his pastor and his wife, Anna, also testified.

Mendez did not testify himself, but two recorded phone conversations were played for the courtroom. The first, between the accuser and Mendez, secretly recorded by the Los Angeles Police Department. The second, between Mendez and a Special Victims Unit detective who also testified.

In both recordings Mendez admitted to inappropiately touching the victim, but said he did not recall it leading to object sexual penetration.

A judge originally stated the crime was so severe he did not want to release Mendez from jail.

Mendez's lawyer, argued Mendez suffers from Parkinson's disease and was deteriorating while behind bars.

At his third bond hearing a judge released Mendez on a $75,000 bond with conditions and he remained under house arrest.

The bench trial is set to wrap up Thursday morning with closing arguments from attorneys before the judge makes his decision.

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