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Press Release

Man Sentenced to Three Years in Prison For Assaulting Hotel Housekeeper

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Columbia
Defendant Entered Hotel Room, Then Tried to Sexually Assault Hotel Employee Who Came in to Clean It

            WASHINGTON - Ernesto A. Mendoza, 18, who had no fixed address, was sentenced today to three years in prison for assaulting a housekeeper with a knife last fall at a downtown Washington hotel, U.S. Attorney Channing D. Phillips announced.


            Mendoza pled guilty on Feb. 1, 2017, in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, to assault with intent to commit first-degree sexual abuse. The plea, which was contingent upon the Court’s approval, called for a sentence of three years in prison. The Honorable José M. Lopez accepted the plea and sentenced Mendoza accordingly. Upon completion of his prison term, Mendoza will be placed on three years of supervised release. He also must register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.


            According to the government’s evidence, on Nov. 26, 2016, Mendoza entered an 11th-floor room at the Grand Hyatt Washington hotel, in the 1000 block of H Street NW. The victim, a housekeeper, entered the room to clean it. When she came out of the bathroom, Mendoza was standing in the room. At first, the victim thought he was a guest who was occupying the room, and so she walked past him. However, Mendoza brandished a silverware knife, threatened her with it, and demanded that she go back to the bedroom.


            Mendoza threatened the victim with the weapon and ordered her to take off her clothes. He then pulled his pants down. The victim attempted to grab the knife from him, and a struggle ensured. She screamed for help, and Mendoza tried to cover her mouth with a towel or cloth to prevent her from yelling. Eventually, after further struggles, she was able to escape.


            Mendoza was identified based on surveillance video and was arrested on Dec. 29, 2016. He has been in custody ever since.


            In announcing the sentence, U.S. Attorney Phillips commended the work of those who investigated the case from the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD). He also expressed appreciation for the assistance provided by the Metro Transit Police and Prince George’s County, Md. Police Departments. He acknowledged the efforts of those who worked on the case from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including Victim/Witness Advocate Lezlie Richardson and Paralegal Specialist T.J. McPhail. Finally, he commended the work of Assistant U.S. Attorney Stuart D. Allen, who investigated and prosecuted the case.

Updated April 14, 2017

Press Release Number: 17-077