Sioux Center Man Sentenced To Jail Time, Possible Deportation In Sexual Abuse Case

Orange City, Iowa — A Sioux Center man has been sentenced for assault with intent to commit sexual abuse.

Sioux County Attorney Thomas Kunstle says that 47-year-old Onofre Bernardo Mendez of Sioux Center was sentenced this week in Sioux County District Court for the crime of Assault With Intent To Commit Sex Abuse, an Aggravated Misdemeanor. However, he was originally charged with Third-Degree Sexual Abuse, a class C Felony.

Kunstle tells us that on February 2, 2024, the Sioux County Sheriff’s Office received a complaint about a sexual abuse assault that took place about a mile southeast of Sioux Center. Further investigation revealed that Bernardo Mendez served as the victim’s employment supervisor, and began giving the victim rides home on days he had the victim stay late. He says on one occasion Bernardo Mendez used force to sexually assault the victim in his 1998 Ford Ranger pickup truck. The victim did not consent to the sex act. During the investigation, Bernardo Mendez offered cash to the victim intending to persuade them not to cooperate with authorities.

On February 22, police filed charges against Bernardo Mendez and he was arrested. He posted a $10,000 bond but instead of being released, was turned over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) for removal proceedings. Sioux County authorities coordinated with ICE to temporarily take custody to complete their prosecution before ICE resumed their removal proceedings.

On April 15, 2024, Bernardo Mendez pleaded guilty to the amended count of Assault With Intent to Commit Sexual Abuse, an Aggravated Misdemeanor, under a plea agreement with the State. Bernardo Mendez was sentenced to 25 days in the Sioux County Jail, after which he will be returned to ICE custody for removal proceedings from the United States.

As required by law, Bernardo Mendez was further ordered to register as a sex offender for life, be supervised for a period of ten years as if on parole, and pay a variety of criminal fines and surcharges. The Court further ordered Bernardo Mendez to have no contact with the victim for the next five years.


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