Joplin man waives hearing on child molestation charge

Sep. 17—A 23-year-old defendant on Thursday was ordered to stand trial trial on a charge that he sexually molested a girl five to six years ago when he was 17 or 18 years old.

William A. Mendez, of Joplin, waived a preliminary hearing in Jasper County Circuit Court on a count of first-degree child molestation, with Associate Judge Joe Hensley setting his initial appearance in a trial division for Oct. 6.

Mendez was charged with the offense in 2020 after an investigation by the Joplin police and state child abuse investigators. A probable-cause affidavit alleges that he touched an underage girl inappropriately between February 2015 and May 2016.

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