Thursday, 30 May 2024

Lucerne teen arrested for alleged assault, molestation

LUCERNE – An 18-year-old Lucerne resident has been arrested for his alleged assault of, and oral copulation with, a child under age 14.

Capt. James Bauman of the Lake County Sheriff's Office reported that deputies arrested Paul John Mendez on Thursday morning.

Bauman said the sheriff's office received information about Mendez during what began as a “relatively routine call” for service on Jan. 4.

At that time, a sheriff’s patrol deputy received information that Mendez allegedly had been molesting a minor, Bauman said.

After further investigation by sheriff’s detectives over the course of this week, Bauman said Superior Court Judge Richard Martin signed a warrant for Mendez's arrest on felony charges of oral copulation with a child under 14 and three counts of assault with the intent to commit rape.

On Thursday morning, Mendez was located in front of the Lakeview Market in Lucerne and arrested without incident pursuant to the warrant, according to Bauman.

Mendez was booked at the Lake County Jail where he remains in custody with a bail set at $500,000.

In an effort to safeguard the victim's confidentiality, Bauman said no further information would be made available on the case at this time.

Mendez's arrest follows two others reported by local officials this week involving rape or lewd and lascivious acts with children or young teens.

On Tuesday, Lake County Sheriff's deputies arrested 18-year-old Austin Duncan for allegedly raping a 13-year-old girl at a Lucerne motel on New Year's Eve. He's facing felony charges of rape by force and lewd and lascivious acts on a child under the age 14.

Clearlake Police on Monday arrested Christopher Adam Sanders, 28, of Lucerne for lewd and lascivious acts with a juvenile.

Duncan remained in the Lake County Jail on $30,000 bail as of Thursday evening, while Sanders had posted his bail – which was set at $100,000 – and was released.


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