A married senior official in President Obama’s Department of Education was convicted of sex crimes and resigned for following women on the DC Metro and taking pictures up their skirts, DailyMail.com can exclusively reveal.
William Mendoza, 42, the former executive director of the White House Initiative on American Indian and Alaska Native Education, stepped down after he was arrested and charged with attempted voyeurism in November 2016, for the vile acts.
Mendoza, who earned $140,000 a year as a policy advisor in Obama’s White House, tried to take photos and videos up women’s skirts at least four times on his government-issued iPhones in July 2016 without their consent.
He was also caught looking at the footage, apparently filmed in secret, of a woman in her underwear getting changed in a dressing room. It is not known if he recorded the video himself.
When he took the indecent photos, he was supposed to be at work and was using a travel card funded by the taxpayer, according to documents obtained by DailyMail.com through a Freedom of Information Act request.
He was caught on surveillance camera trying to take the indecent picture during an investigation by the Metro Police Transit Department (WMATA), arrested and charged with one count of attempted voyeurism, a misdemeanor.
Mendoza resigned just before the Department of Education could launch their own investigation into his sexual misconduct.
He pleaded guilty to the charges in January 2017, was given suspended 90-day prison sentence, one year’s probation and was fined $100. He has not worked in public office since stepping down.
Paul Y. Kiyonaga, Mendoza’s lawyer, told DailyMail.com that Mendoza received treatment after his conviction and is now trying to move on with his life away from public office.
He said: ‘Mr. Mendoza has taken responsibility for this charge of attempted voyeurism.
‘He’s received treatment for the underlying issues that gave rise to this incident, and, with the strong support of his family, is moving forward productively with his life.’
Mendoza became the executive director of the White House Initiative on American Indian and Alaska Native Education in December 2011, when it was created by executive order by President Obama.
Throughout his tenure working for the Obama Administration, Mendoza tried to get Native Americans get better access to education and also rallied against the use of tribal mascots in sports.
Mendoza worked under Education Secretary Arne Duncan and his successor John King.
He has at least three children, is part of the Oglala-Sicangu Lakota tribe and is a fixture of the protests against the Dakota Access oil pipeline with his wife, Heather.
The documents obtained by DailyMail.com say Mendoza took four of the upskirt photos on subway trains in the capital and was caught on a platform watching a video of a woman in her underwear in a dressing room.
Twice on July 5, 2016, between 2.00pm and 3.00pm, Mendoza used his cell phone to take two indecent pictures of women ‘in close proximity to their bottom’ at the Union Station Metro in the space of just 20 minutes.
One of the victims was wearing a ‘short jeans skirt’ and the other had ‘extremely short cut black shorts’, according to police.
On July 7, 2016, at 8.23am a witness saw Mendoza behind a woman at the McPherson Square Metro station.
The victim was seen pulling her dress closer to her legs to cover up when she noticed the illuminated light of the cell phone, the documents state.
Police say he ran out of the train station after someone noticed his surreptitious actions while a bystander shouted ‘stop’.
A detective called her about the incident during an investigation and said that a man who looked like Mendoza also tried to take a photo up her skirt on a subway train two weeks earlier.
Later on July 7, at 6.19pm, Mendoza was caught on a surveillance camera taking out his phone and looking at a video showing a woman’s underwear underneath a white dress.
The report states the footage ‘appeared to have been surreptitiously filmed in a store’s dressing room.
On July 8, at 9.25am, Mendoza left one of the platforms at the Farragut West Metro station and started following a woman wearing a maroon dress onto the escalators.
According to the documents he placed his cell phone ‘near the bottom of her dress’ while behind her and took the picture.
Just one minute later, he walked back down the stairs and waited in an unpaid area of the station.
He waited until he saw another woman wearing a blue dress. Mendoza stood behind her on the escalator, took another picture, and then walked away.
In August 2016, the Washington Metro Transit Area Authority Police Department (WMATA) contacted the Department of Education to say they were investigating Mendoza.
On November 25, before the Office of the Inspector General finished their probe into his conduct, he resigned.
Five days later, a detective from the WMATA got a search warrant for Mendoza’s government-issued electronic items, including his laptop.
He pleaded guilty to one count of attempted voyeurism in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia on January 13, 2017, and was given a 90-day suspended prison sentence as part of a plea agreement.
Mendoza was also given one-year probation and a $100 fine. After he was convicted he sought treatment.
In April 2017, the Department of Education’s Office of the Inspector General advised he should be barred from federal employment ‘due to suitability’.
This wasn’t the only time Mendoza came under scrutiny for his conduct during his time in office.
An autistic man said he punched him and called him a ‘weetard’ for wearing a Washington Redskins sweater in 2015, a year before his run-in with police.
Barrett Dahl, 28, says he was at a Native American gathering in Washington, DC in October 2015 when appointee Mendoza spotted him wearing the sweater.
‘He comes to me and says you’re a “weetard” for wearing a Redskins shirt,’ Dahl told Oklahoma TV station KFOR at the time.
‘He says where are you from that you’re such a “weetard,” you don’t understand that you’re offending me?’
Mendoza told News9 that he politely asked about the words ‘INJUN PIMP’ on the back of Dahl’s shirt and that Dahl responded violently.
According to Mendoza,, Dahl said: ‘I don’t have to (expletive) explain (expletive) to you. If you want to step outside and take this outside, I’d be happy to explain it to you.’
Dahl says his shirt said ‘INJUN PLAYER.’
Mendoza says he offered Dahl his hand after seeing him on the escalator and apologized for upsetting him, but Dahl then attacked.
‘He was holding a cup in his hand,’ Mendoza wrote, ‘at which point, he threw its contents that were the smell of coffee and was hot, but not scalding.
‘He then punched me in the face (right cheek). I tried to grab him but we both fell.’
Mendoza strenuously denied the allegation.
He was not arrested and has never been accused of criminal wrongdoing following the confrontation.
The Department of Education confirmed to DailyMail.com that Mendoza resigned before the internal investigation into his conduct concluded.
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