What to Know
- Sgt. Jesus Menocal Jr. was arrested by FBI agents Friday morning, Hialeah Police officials said.
- Menocal had been accused of sexual misconduct with at least one minor
A Hialeah Police sergeant accused of sexual misconduct with at least one minor and another woman has been arrested by the FBI, city officials confirmed Friday.
An indictment returned Thursday accuses Sgt. Jesus Menocal Jr., 32, of depriving the two alleged victims of their civil rights, according to the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida.
Hialeah Police confirmed Menocal's arrest in a brief statement Friday.
"Hialeah Police has been working hand-in-hand and in full cooperation with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which has led to his arrest," the statement read, in part.
Menocal was expected to make his first appearance in court on Friday. Attorney information wasn't available.
The allegations against Menocal originally surfaced in June of 2015, when he was alleged to have "willfully deprived a minor female of her right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures when, for his own sexual gratification, he directed her to remove her clothing," the U.S. Attorney's Office said in a statement.
The incident involved kidnapping and threatening the use of a dangerous weapon, according to the indictment.
Menocal is also accused of exposing himself to a woman and grabbing her while threatening the use of a dangerous weapon in 2015, the indictment alleged.
Menocal was relieved of duty earlier this year amid the FBI's investigation. At a news conference last month, Hialeah Police Chief Sergio Velazquez defended his decision not to take Menocal off the job when administrative and criminal investigations began. Velazquez said that the State Attorney's office had not chosen to move forward with the case after reviewing a preliminary round of information. In addition, union contracts had prevented him from firing Menocal, Velazquez said.
"Based on the information that was developed at the time, the state attorney's office did not prosecute or feel there was enough at the time to prosecute," Velazquez said. "Like any case, when there's new developments, and there's a reason to re-open it and re-address it, that is what has happened in this case."
Menocal was a member of the department's SWAT team. His father was the police chief of the City of Sweetwater before retiring in 2015 after 30 years with the department.
Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle released a statement on the arrest Friday.
"This was a very challenging fact scenario when we first reviewed it. At the time, we did not have sufficient evidence to ethically file state sexual assault charges," her statement read. "However, we did not give up on this matter. Recognizing that Federal Civil Rights charges might be viable, we referred this matter to the DOJ for further investigation in 2016."