Child rape among several charges filed against Sunnyside man

YAKIMA - A 37-year-old Sunnyside man was formally arraigned in Yakima County Superior Court this past Friday, where he heard several charges against him.

Junior Gene Mendez is facing charges of first degree rape of a child, first degree child molestation, possession of depictions of a minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct and dealing in depictions of a minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct.

Mendez is being held on $200,000 bail.

He was arrested July 15 in Sunnyside after Sunnyside police executed a search warrant at his home. The search warrant was based on an ongoing investigation by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, the Northwest Internet Crimes Against Children and the Seattle Police Department. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children had received a tip that Mendez had posted images of child pornography on a website. The children were males approximately five or six years old.

Evidence recovered at Mendez's residence included pornographic images, videos, digital storage cards and magazines.

Mendez will attend a status hearing on Thursday, Aug. 27, and a trial date has been tentatively set for Thursday, Sept. 3.


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