Wednesday, July 17, 2024

PUP’s Hon. Dr. Marco Tulio Mendez faces criminal charges


The People’s United Party (PUP) elected Standard Bearer for Orange Walk East Honorable Dr. Marco Tulio Mendez has been formally arrested and charged for six counts of aggravated assault of an indecent nature. After a week of breaking news about accusations made against the embattled politician, he visited the Orange Walk Town Police Station on Tuesday February 3rd flanked by family members and his attorneys. Mendez’ charges are based on accusations made by two female minors dating as far back as 2005.Marco-Tulio-Arraignment0005
Mendez visited the station sometime around 1:30PM accompanied by his attorneys Richard “Dickie” Bradley and Andrew Bennett. According to Bradley, after the elected parliamentarian was charged, he was arranged before a Magistrate Merlene Moody at the Orange Walk Police Station where charges were formally read to him. “The court read six charges to the honorable Tulio-Mendez; four counts in relation to one child and two counts in relation to the other child. These charges are listed as aggravated assault, which is the charge that the law uses, but they are in relation to inappropriate touching. Bail was offered in a sum of $5,000, which under the law, is a signed bail. And he is required to return to court on the 13th day of April.” Because the case involves female minors, their identities must be protected, but according to Bradley the alleged victims who are 16 years old, are claiming that the incidents go back as far as ten years ago.
Bennett said that while Mendez, a neurologist and pediatrician by profession, is innocent until proven guilty, the allegations being made will see the doctor facing serious discrimination. He said that the Crown will have to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, Mendez’s accusation. “The law states that if there is anything indecent done toward a child, it will be treated as aggravated assault and so it has its separate provision under the criminal code… the Crown has to show beyond a reasonable doubt that there was some inappropriate, indecent act towards the minor. So that is what the Crown has. We don’t know what the Crown has in terms of the report… and we hope that when the disclosure phase comes through that we know exactly what it is that they intend to prove.”
The 51 year old politician is a one term area representative, who in November of 2014, had announced that he would not seek re-election for medical purposes. But he is going down in history as being the first elected representative to be criminally charged for such allegations aforementioned. In an exclusive interview with Channel 5 News after being charged, Mendez said that he is going to defend his name to the fullest, but will allow the court to take its course. As for his political future, he said he has been in communication with the PUP Leader Francis Fonseca. “I have spoken to the Party Leader and I told him that basically I will be removing myself from all active political campaigning. With respect to resigning, it is a matter that I wouldn’t want to discuss now.”

Marco Tulio Mendez
Marco Tulio Mendez

The Peoples United Party sent out a release on Tuesday February 3rd, moments after Mendez was charged. It states that “the Party Leader, in accordance with the powers vested in him by the National Executive, has with immediate effect removed Dr. Marco Tulio Mendez from his position as Chairman of the Northern Caucus and has suspended him indefinitely from all other Party related duties, responsibilities, and activities.”
The release adds that while their “thoughts and prayers are with the alleged victim(s), and with our colleague and friend Dr. Mendez and his family,” they have fully begun to engage the new Standard Bearer Jose Carballo, who has now assumed full responsibility of the party’s business in Orange Walk East.
The charges against Mendez are four counts of aggravated assault of an indecent nature upon a minor sometime between 2006 and 2007, in November 2009 and in September of 2010 and in 2011. As it relates to the second minor, the charges are for common assault that allegedly occurred sometime between 2005 and 2006 and in May 2009, all reportedly taking place in Orange Walk Town.
For context, it is not required for Mendez to resign his seat from the House of Representative and only he can decide to do so. In fact the law states that if he is criminally charged and if he is found guilty and convicted, his sentence must exceed 12 months to force a member of parliament to vacate his seat.
Mendez is not the only sitting member of parliament that has been criminally charged in the recent past. Lake I Area Representative and Minister of State Hon. Mark King, was arrested, charged and arraigned back in February 2013 for Aggravated Assault, Using Threatening Words and Disorderly Conduct against a law enforcement officer. In addition, Cayo Northeast Area Representative and Minister of State of Immigration Department Hon. Elvin Penner, was charged for a string of immigration offenses. In both cases there was no conviction.

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