EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

December 28, 2012

Lawrence man will be deported after child rape plea

By Jill Harmacinski

---- — SALEM, Mass. — A Lawrence man yesterday pleaded guilty to raping a young girl over a three year period and will deported to the Dominican Republic as a result.

Ariel Mendez, 48, pleaded guilty to raping the girl on diverse dates from January 2004 to January 2007 when the child was 6 to 9 years old. The incidents occurred at various Lawrence addresses where Mendez lived with the girl’s mother, prosecutor Jessica Strasnick said in Salem Superior Court yesterday.

On one occasion, Mendez raped the girl while holding a pillow over her face, Strasnick said.

Mendez was indicted on a third rape court, a charge that was not prosecuted yesterday as a result of the plea agreement reached between the defense and the district attorney’s office.

In court yesterday, Mendez admitted to Judge David Lowy that he did commit the rapes and the evidence Strasnick presented in court was accurate. He was sentenced to three years in state prison but given credit for the 931 days he’s already spent in Middleton Jail awaiting trial.

Mendez now has 164 days to serve in the three-year sentence, after which he will be transported to a immigration facility and deported to the Dominican Republic. When asked how much education he’s received, Mendez said he’d attended college in the Dominican Republic.

Defense attorney Jessica Thrall said during his time in jail, Mendez was diagnosed with diabetes and is being treated now for the disease. She asked Lowy to recommend that Mendez serve the remainder of his rape sentence, roughly five months and two weeks, at Middleton Jail instead of state prison so his diabetes regimen wouldn’t be interrupted.

Lowy said he would make the suggestion, although the decision was not ultimately his.

The maximum penalty for child rape is life in prison, Strasnick said.

They were not in court yesterday but Strasnick said the victim and her mother both approved of Mendez’s plea agreement.

Strasnick also noted that Mendez was not subject to any probation when his sentence lapses because his being deported.

Follow staff reporter Jill Harmacinski on Twitter under the screenname EagleTribJill.