High school rumor played role in Dinuba sexual battery case


Mendoza assured a judge he will obey all laws during his three year probation. The former Dinuba High School athletic trainer was arrested back in June of 2012 for inappropriately touching several students.

Originally, Mendoza was charged with several felonies and spent most of the last two years in custody, but recently he accepted a plea deal to plead no contest to misdemeanor sexual battery and misdemeanor battery.

Tulare County Assistant District Attorney Anthony Fultz said, "Originally there was some felony charges involved with some of the touching but after reviewing all the information and looking at the conduct of the statement of the victims and witnesses, misdemeanor conduct we felt would be appropriate for the victims."

Mendoza's attorney says his client accidentally touched the calf of a student, slapped a student's rear end and rubbed bio freeze on the shoulder of one of the victims while he was in the process of his training duties. Mendoza resigned from his position at Dinuba High School shortly after his arrest.

"The genesis really was a false high school rumor about my client and it took a life of its own," said Orlando Mendoza's attorney Derek Wisehart. "The case settled short of trial and all the felonies were dropped."

Prosecutors agree a high school rumor did play a part in the case, but say in the end, Mendoza took his trainer duties too far, and was inappropriate with five teenage girls.

Fultz added, "We're pleased to have a resolution where the defendant has admitted to the misdemeanor charges so everyone can move on from here."

Because of the type of charge that Mendoza plead to, his sex offender registration will not necessarily be public, though it will likely show up on a background check.

The U.S. Department of Justice will make that final determination when it reviews the case.

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