Omar Mejia Melendez, 46, is headed to state prison, a community that infamously does not take too kindly to child molesters. On Wednesday, a San Mateo County judge sentenced Melendez to 24 years behind bars for routinely fondling a young girl at her family’s Daly City home over an 18-month period.
A jury convicted Melendez of 24 felony molestation counts. He was arrested in January 2009.
Melendez also will have to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life once he completes his prison sentence, District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said.
The victim was 12 years old when Melendez was taken into custody. After four years of keeping the abuse secret, Wagstaffe said, she finally confided in a friend from school and Melendez was arrested shortly thereafter.
At times during the 18 months of abuse, Melendez reportedly molested the girl every other day.
Melendez allegedly confessed to the crimes, but apparently wasn’t at all ashamed of his actions. He told police the 8-year-old would make advances at him, Wagstaffe said.
But that wasn’t Melendez’s only outrageous statement.
On the fifth day of the seven-day jury trial, he reportedly recanted all the statements he made to police, including a video-taped confession. Melendez said a traumatic incident from his childhood caused him to lie to police.
Melendez testified that his mother’s military policeman boyfriend in Honduras threatened to throw him in a river if he didn’t tell the man about his mom’s infidelity. Melendez whined that he couldn’t swim, and ever since that moment he said he fears police and lies when nervous.
To that end, he must have been quite nervous in front of a jury.