Third Plea Deal in Works in Bronx Torture, Sex Assaults Case

Defendant Indelfonso Mendez, who is now 25, leaves the NYPD’s Bronx Special Victims Unit in October 2010. | KEVIN HECKMAN

An apparent ringleader in a notorious anti-gay torture and sexual assault case in the Bronx is making a plea deal with the district attorney there.

“We're asking for more time for the pre-plea investigation report,” an attorney for Indelfonso Mendez, 25, said in court on July 3.

That attorney was appearing on behalf of Sanders L. Denis, the attorney of record for Mendez, and she would not discuss the case. Denis did not respond to a call seeking comment.

Mendez is one of seven defendants who are each facing dozens of charges, including alleged sexual abuse, gang assault, and robbery, in the 2010 crimes. Some are charged as hate crimes, with the prosecutor asserting that defendants knew or believed that some of their victims were gay. Allegedly, the seven men engaged in an hours-long session of beatings, sexual assaults, and other crimes involving six male victims in the Morris Heights section of the Bronx.

Mendez and David Rivera, 23, are the only defendants who are named in every count of the 75-count indictment, which suggests that they were leaders in the crimes.

On June 12, Theresa A. Gottlieb, a senior trial assistant district attorney who is prosecuting the case, discussed an expected “pre-pleading memorandum” from the attorney representing defendant Luis Garcia, 28, at a hearing before Judge Steven Barrett.

“After we receive that, we’ll be prepared to offer pleas to this defendant,” Gottlieb said.

At a June 15 hearing before Barrett, a defense attorney who was representing defendant José Dominguez, 24, gave what appeared to be a pre-plea report prepared by the Osborne Association, a non-profit that works with offenders, to Barrett and Terry Gensler, an assistant district attorney who was subbing for Gottlieb. The judge then set a September date for a “disposition.”

The defendants, who supposedly called themselves the Latin King Goonies, are alleged to have used ten different weapons including a bat, pliers, a cigarette, a lighter, and a chain. Allegedly, they sodomized some of their victims with some of these weapons, and some defendants are alleged to have menaced some of the victims by displaying a gun.

Also charged in the case are Elmer Confresi, 25, Nelson Falu, 19, and Rudy Vargas, 24. Only Vargas is out on bail. The others are being held on Rikers Island, either because they could not make bail or they were remanded without bail. All the defendants have pleaded not guilty.

In 2010, the crimes drew widespread revulsion for their brutality and condemnation for their motivation. David Paterson, then the governor, called the attacks “vile, loathsome, and despicable conduct.” City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, an out lesbian who represents Chelsea, called it “the worst hate crime to hit our city in recent memory.”

The Bronx district attorney’s office did not respond to an email seeking comment.