A Mexican who illegally entered the United States at least five times over the past 15 years raped a woman in Southampton in 2016, according to a sentencing handed down in a U.S. District Court proceeding last week.
Rogelio Mendez, 37, whose home address was listed as Jackson Heights, was sentenced to 57 months in federal prison after pleading guilty to charges that he re-entered the U.S. after being deported.
But the admission was just a small part of the story. According to testimony and court documents, the federal prison sentence is in addition to a 30-month sentence that Mendez is currently finishing in state prison for a 2016 rape in Southampton.
The violent attacks at a co-worker’s house left the victim in a permanent state of distress, according to published reports. At the court hearing, the victim publicly chastised U.S. immigration policy for the lax border security that allowed Mendez to
repeatedly re-enter the country
“Mendez was first deported from the United States in 2004 after he served two years in state prison for criminal possession of a loaded firearm in Queens, papers filed by federal prosecutors said,” according to QNS reporter Emily Davenport. Eastern District prosecutor Bradley King said that Mendez first entered the country illegally in 1993 when he was 14 years old.
Mendez illegally re-entered the United States in 2005, and “was again deported in March of 2009,” court papers said. He once again found his way back in the United States a year later and made his way to Southampton.
A restaurant here employed him despite his undocumented status. The employer was never revealed in court papers.
On September 11, 2016, Mendez and a co-worker went to a house after work where other seasonal workers lived, including the victim and her girlfriend, who knew Mendez’s friend.
The victim fell asleep and woke up when Mendez forced himself on her, she told police. She tried to stop the attack and eventually broke free, seeking sanctuary in another room, but Mendez followed her and sought to rape her again, despite the fact she was furiously kicking and beating him.
“Ms. Doe told the defendant to stop and then fought for her safety, throwing punches at the defendant,” the court papers said.
U.S. District Judge Sandra Feuerstein slapped a 55-month sentence onto the 30 months he is in the midst of serving. They will run concurrently.
The victim described her life as an “an ongoing living hell and nightmare.” She has trouble sleeping to this day, she said in a written court statement. “It hurts physically to even make it to work in the morning. I try not to shake with fear.”
According to a report of court proceedings furnished by Newsday she said her case was “an example of how immigration laws allow the employment of people” like the defendant. The Independent is investigating this case in search of more information, including where in Southampton Mendez was employed, and why local newspapers apparently were never given information about his arrest.
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