A former Hialeah police sergeant who took a plea deal after he was accused of taking advantage of women in his custody was sentenced to three years in prison Thursday.
Jesus Menocal Jr. pled guilty in federal court in March to three misdemeanor counts of violating the civil right of unreasonable search and seizures, avoiding major felony charges.
Judge Kathleen M. Williams sentenced Menocal to three years behind bars and one year of supervised release at a hearing Thursday. She gave him a voluntary surrender date of July 11 to begin serving the sentence.
Three victims gave emotional statements in court, with one calling Menocal a coward.
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Jeffrey Giordano, a spokesman for the Menocal family, called the last seven years an injustice.
"The prosecution did not have enough evidence and they did not feel confident to take this case to trial," Giordano said.
Giordano's comments angered victims and family members who overheard them.
"When I was 17 and he took me, I didn't know my laws. That was my first police encounter," victim Maley Dacosta said. "It was very difficult. I've been dealing with this for more than seven years and still here we are. Now he gets another 60 days out in the freedom."
Menocal had been facing a long list of possible outcomes for forcing different sexual acts on three women he held in custody in 2014 and 2015.
The allegations emerged in 2015 but the Hialeah Police Department chose not to pursue charges after an investigation. Menocal was later given a raise and a promotion to sergeant.
Miami-Dade prosecutors also decided not to pursue charges against Menocal, calling it a “challenging” case without corroborating evidence.
He was eventually arrested by the FBI in 2019.
Under the plea deal, Menocal avoided other allegations such as kidnapping, which could have been life in prison. He has also agreed to give up his law enforcement license.