Judge's gavel

Federal Way man sentenced to prison for taking nude photos of underage cheerleaders

In September, Jeffrey Mendoza pleaded guilty to communication with a minor for immoral purposes, assault with intent to commit sexual exploitation of a minor, according to FBI.

A Federal Way man was sentenced on Oct. 15 to six months in prison for sexually exploiting offenses against minors on a local cheerleading team.

Jeffrey Mendoza, 36, pleaded guilty on Sept. 15 to two counts of communication with a minor for immoral purposes and second-degree assault with intent to commit sexual exploitation of a minor, according to the U.S. Department of Justice Federal Bureau of Investigation of Seattle.

“This cheer coach exploited his position of trust and leadership to cause long-lasting harm to the children in his care,” said Special Agent in Charge Donald M. Voiret of the FBI’s Seattle Field Office. “Due to the hard work of our team at FBI Seattle, Washington State Patrol, and the King County Prosecuting Attorney, this predator will be held accountable for his actions and be identified as a sex offender.”

Mendoza must also register as a sex offender and pay a $600 fine.

Several of Mendoza’s teenage cheer students told law enforcement that Mendoza, a former Celebrity Cheer Unlimited coach, had lured them to various Airbnb rental properties in the Puget Sound area on separate occasions with the promise of taking modeling photos in 2018.

At the rental properties, 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 the FBI. Two of the victims were 16 years old at the time of their abuse, and another victim was 15 years old.

Mendoza also verbally abused, intimidated and humiliated girls in front of teammates if they were not compliant. The girls said they complied because they were afraid of him due to his emotional outbursts and threat of public humiliation, according to the FBI.

Mendoza was brought to justice based upon the testimony of these girls, who provided victim impact statements to the court.

The FBI credits the girls’ continued bravery throughout the investigation to ending Mendoza’s continued pattern of abuse of children.

The case was investigated by FBI Seattle and the Washington State Patrol. The King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office prosecuted the case.

FBI Seattle is one of 56 FBI field offices located in major U.S. cities with 9 satellite offices called resident agencies in Washington state. The mission of the FBI is to protect the American people and uphold the Constitution of the United States.

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