Former Obama Official Pleaded Guilty to Sex Crimes

William Mendoza / U.S. Department of Education
• February 12, 2018 2:47 pm


A senior policy adviser to former President Barack Obama pleaded guilty to one count of attempted voyeurism after resigning from his position in November 2016, recently released documents show.

William Mendoza was investigated and ultimately charged with attempting to take unsolicited videos and photos up the skirts or shorts of women in several Washington, D.C. metro stations, the Daily Mail reports. He resigned from his position with the Obama administration before the investigation into his actions concluded.

Mendoza, a married man with at least three children, joined the Obama administration as executive director of the White House Initiative on American Indian and Alaska Native Education in December 2011. During his time in that role, he worked to obtain better access to education for Native Americans, and he spoke fervently against the use of tribal mascots in sports.

Mendoza soon left the role, however, after witnesses and surveillance cameras revealed his illegal behavior. Documents released through a Freedom of Information Act request say that on July 5, 2016, Mendoza positioned his government-issued iPhone near the bottoms of two women in the Union Station Metro.

The behavior continued when, two days later, a witness reported seeing Mendoza with his phone at the McPherson Square Metro. Later that day, a security camera caught the administration official watching a video showing a woman's underwear underneath her dress. It appeared the video had been secretively taken in a dressing room, although it is unclear if Medoza was responsible for recording the video. On July 8, security camera footage showed Mendoza following and taking photos of two different women around the Farragut West Metro.

In August 2016, the Washington Metro Area Transit Authority (WMATA) Police Department informed the Department of Education that Mendoza was being investigated for acts of voyeurism. He resigned on Nov. 25 of the same year before the investigation concluded. Five days after his resignation, a WMATA detective obtained a search warrant for Mendoza's government-issued laptop and iPhones.

Mendoza pleaded guilty to one count of attempted voyeurism and was given a suspended 90-day prison sentence, one year's probation, and a $100 fine.

Prior to the voyeurism investigation, Mendoza had been accused of assaulting an autistic Native American student for wearing a Washington Redskins shirt in August 2016. Mendoza claimed the student was the aggressor in the confrontation. He was not arrested or charged with any criminal wrongdoing following the incident.

The Department of Education's Office of the Inspector General recommended Mendoza be barred from federal employment because of "suitability." Medonza's lawyer, Paul Y. Kiyonaga, stated his client saught treatment after the conviction for 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," Kiyonaga said.