Arizona Doctor Charged with Sexual Assault of a Minor Tries to Flee on Florida Cruise Ship

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  • A Phoenix area doctor was arrested last month while trying to board a cruise ship in Florida.
  • The doctor had been charged with multiple serious counts stemming from allegations that he sexually assaulted girl in 2014.
  • The doctor has now been extradited back to Arizona, where he will face the charges against him.

A doctor from the Phoenix area, who had been arrested on charges of child molestation, was caught last month trying to flee the country on a cruise ship in Florida.

According to the Brevard County Sheriff's Office Dr. Rafael Mendoza was facing charges stemming from an incident in May 2014 in which he allegedly kissed and inappropriately touched a female victim under the age of 15. He had been indicted on sexual assault charges in June, and was facing charges including child molestation, six counts of aggravated assault, and four counts of sexual contact with a minor.

Dr. Mendoza was arrested in early July while trying to board a cruise ship and leave the country. He has since seen his doctor’s license suspended by the Arizona Medical Board, and he has been extradited back to Arizona.

The fact that Dr. Mendoza almost boarded a cruise ship and left the country should be alarming not only for his alleged victim and her family, but also for all parents whose children may have potentially come into contact with him during his voyage.

Over the years we have stressed on this web site, and on our other blog, just how important is for parents to never let their guard down the while on a cruise vacation. The fact is that the very same people who are found on land, including those who would do you and your children harm, can be found taking cruise vacations.

And as can be seen with the case of Dr. Mendoza, some cruise passengers may not be looking for a vacation at all, but rather may be running from the law.