Scales of justice
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A judge ruled Tuesday that prosecutors have enough probable cause to charge a Casper man with abusing two adolescent girls.

Hugo Mendoza-Cora, who police believe is 36, is facing six charges of sexual abuse of a minor, three in the second degree and three in the third degree. If convicted on all charges, he would face more than 100 years in prison.

Mendoza-Cora was charged with two sex abuse counts on Oct. 23. In the interceding eight days, prosecutors brought four additional charges against him.

After Mendoza-Cora’s initial charging, another alleged victim was interviewed by Children’s Advocacy Project staff. The girl, who is 11, told an interviewer that Mendoza-Cora had ripped her pajamas in the course of molesting her, according to court documents.

The girl told an investigator that Mendoza-Cora had threatened to hit her if she told her mother, according to the documents.

Casper police Detective Mitch Baker said in court Tuesday that Mendoza-Cora had told police he did “not have anything to say about that,” when asked about the sexual abuse allegations.

When being cross-examined by a defense lawyer, Baker said he was not certain how old Mendoza-Cora was. He said Mendoza-Cora had given the same date of birth during two unrelated police interactions that took place in 2001 and 2012. Mendoza-Cora is an undocumented immigrant and Baker said police found a number of falsified legal documents during the course of the investigation.

Mendoza-Cora appeared in court and listened to the charges against him through an interpreter. He was not given the opportunity to speak. When his attorney asked if he had any questions for the detective, Mendoza-Cora shook his head.

The investigation began when a third party told police that one of the girls, who is 12, had said she was being abused by Mendoza-Cora. Both girls told investigators that he had touched their genitals with his hand, sometimes forcibly.

Mendoza-Cora is related to the two alleged victims.

The defendant is being held on $50,000 bond. He will appear next in Natrona County District Court where he will be asked to enter a plea to the charges.

Follow crime reporter Shane Sanderson on Twitter @shanersanderson

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Shane Sanderson is a Star-Tribune reporter who primarily covers criminal justice. Sanderson is a proud University of Missouri graduate. Lately, he’s been reading Cormac McCarthy and cooking Italian food. He writes about his own life in his free time.

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