Federal Way cheerleading coach sentenced for sex offenses against minors

FILE - Generic gavel on wooden table.

A former Federal Way cheerleading coach has been sentenced to six months in prison for sex offenses against minors he was in charge of. He must also register as a sex offender. 

On Sept. 15, Jeffrey Mendoza pleaded guilty to two counts of communication with a minor for immoral purposes and second-degree assault with intent to commit sexual exploitation of a minor.

Several of Mendoza's teenaged cheer students came forward to law enforcement, saying as early as 2017, he had lured them to a rental property in Puget Sound with the promise of taking modeling photos. 

When they were at the property, Mendoza convinced them to either remove their clothing or wear sheer lingerie and pose in a sexually explicit manner while he photographed them, according to court documents.

"The defendant was able to access these girls by gaining the trust of their families. and portraying himself as a legitimate photographer who was helping them with modeling portfolios. The defendant purchased clothing for the girls. including lingerie. to model in and then took them to residences in Seattle and Tacoma to photograph them. The defendant manipulated the girls into posing nude for him," according to documents from the King County Prosecuting Attorney's Office.

Victims also said that Mendoza verbally abused, intimidated, and humiliated them in front of others if they were not compliant. The victims said they complied because they were afraid of him due to his emotional outbursts and threat of public humiliation. 

Mendoza was also ordered to have no contact with two victims for the next 10 years. 

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