Wainui coach faces 20 new charges

BLAIR ENSOR
Last updated 10:46 08/11/2012
Alejandro Gonzalez Mendez
CHARGED: Alejandro Gonzalez Mendez.

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A Wainuiomata football coach who allegedly posed as a photographer to lure young women into performing sexual acts on him has appeared in court on a raft of new charges.

Alejandro Gonzalez Mendez, 36, a painter, stood silently wearing a black sweatshirt when he appeared in Lower Hutt District Court this morning.

He faced five charges of indecent assault, 11 charges of sexual connection with a young person, meeting a young person after sexual grooming, and three charges of supplying cannabis to a person under the age of 18. He was remanded in custody without plea to appear in court again later this month.

Mendez has previously appeared in court on three charges of indecent assault and two charges of unlawful sexual connection.

Police allege at least 10 young women were sexually abused by Gonzalez Mendez since April 2010.

Many of the complainants were identified by police after The Dominion Post revealed in July that Gonzalez Mendez had been charged with sexually assaulting a player in a Wainuiomata Association Football Club senior women's team he coached.

At the time Gonzalez Mendez, a Costa Rican who has lived in New Zealand for at least 11 years and has two young children, said the player accused him of touching her breast. He denied the allegation.

"I haven't done any of the things that she is saying, " he told The Dominion Post. "I guess that's why the police are involved, so they can verify everything and then something will come clear."

Police launched Operation Vos after they became aware of more young women whom Gonzalez Mendez had allegedly abused, Detective Constable Charlie Munro said last month.

In some cases, he posed as a female exchange student and model online, and told the young women to contact her manager and photographer for work, Mr Munro said.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Mr Munro at Hutt Valley CIB on (04) 5602654.

Contact Blair Ensor
Police reporter
Email: blair.ensor@dompost.co.nz
Twitter: @blairensor

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