Coach pleads guilty to sex charges

BLAIR ENSOR
Last updated 10:48 22/11/2012
Alejandro Gonzalez Mendez
CHARGED: Alejandro Gonzalez Mendez.

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A football coach who allegedly posed as a photographer to lure young women into performing sexual acts on him has pleaded guilty to some of the charges he faces.

Alejandro Gonzalez Mendez, 36, a painter, of Wainuiomata, stood silently in the dock when he appeared before Judge Denys Barry in Lower Hutt District Court today this morning.

He plead guilty to a charge of performing an indecent act, five charges of sexual connection with a young person and meeting a young person after sexual grooming.

A charge of sexual violation and another of indecent assault were withdrawn by police.

Gonzalez Mendez is yet to plead to a further 13 charges including sexual connection with a young person, performing an indecent act on a young person and supplying cannabis to a young person.

He was remanded in custody to appear in court again next year for a plea evaluation hearing.

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

Many of the complainants were identified by police after it was 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 said. "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 allegedly posed as a female exchange student and model online, and told the young women to contact "her" manager and photographer for work, Munro said.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Munro at Hutt Valley CIB on (04) 560 2654.

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- The Dominion Post

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