SLO judge commits pedophile to state hospital

June 24, 2023

Alfredo Arcilio Mendez


A San Luis Obispo judge ruled that a serial child molester is a sexually violent predator and must stay in the custody of the California Department of State Hospitals.

Following a four-day court trial, Judge Timothy Covello decided to grant the SLO County District Attorney’s Office’s petition for the civil commitment of Alfredo Arcilio Mendez, 62. Covello committed Mendez to Coalinga State Hospital. 

California’s Sexually Violent Predator (SVP) law allows a district attorney to petition for the continued detention of an individual beyond their parole period if that person has been sentenced to state prison for one or more sexually violent offenses, has been diagnosed with a mental disorder and poses a danger to the safety of others because he is likely to engage in acts of sexual violence if released into the community.

The statute is a civil, not criminal, law. Individuals committed under the SVP law are generally held in a locked hospital setting.

Judge Covello found that Mendez had previously been convicted of five qualifying sexually violent crimes.

In 1986, Mendez was convicted in San Diego County of forcible lewd acts and forcible oral copulation on a six-year-old child. Then in 1999, Mendez was convicted in SLO County of forcible lewd acts on a 10-year-old child, forcible lewd acts on an 8-year-old child and forcible lewd acts on a 6-year-old child. 

Additionally, the prosecution presented evidence that, while working at a child daycare facility, Mendez sexually assaulted three female children. In 1985, authorities arrested Mendez in Long Beach for forcible rape of a child under 16, and over a period spanning 1999-2000, he sexually assaulted a 3-year-old boy.

Two of the nine victims testified about their violent assaults. Likewise, four psychologists who evaluated Mendez gave their opinion that he has diagnosed pedophilia. Two of the psychologists found that Mendez’s case of pedophilia makes him a substantial danger to the safety of others, and he is likely to engage in predatory sexually violent behavior if released into the community.

SLO County District Attorney Dan Dow issued a statement applauding Covello’s decision to commit Mendez.

“This ruling will ensure that Mr. Mendez is detained in a hospital setting where he does not pose a threat to our community,” Dow said. “We are committed to doing everything within our authority to protect the people of San Luis Obispo County from dangerous sexual predators like Mr. Mendez.”

Mendez’s progress at Coalinga State Hospital will be reviewed biannually by the California Department of State Hospitals.

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…this is a disturbing step in a very wrong direction.