A Minneapolis man who admitted to sexually assaulting his former St. Paul landlady last year was given a nearly five-year prison sentence Monday.
Rolando Lopez-Meneses, 24, pleaded guilty in July to third-degree criminal sexual conduct in connection with the attack on the woman at her Battle Creek home on July 17, 2021.
As part of a plea agreement with Ramsey County prosecutors, one count each of first-degree criminal sexual conduct and first-degree burglary were dismissed at Monday’s sentencing.
Ramsey County District Judge Adam Yang followed the plea agreement and sentenced Lopez-Meneses to 57 months in prison, while also giving him credit for 482 days he’s already served in custody.
After confinement, Lopez-Meneses must serve a statutorily required 10 years of conditional release and register as a predatory offender.
According to the criminal complaint:
Officers responded to a burglary report at the woman’s home in the 1600 block of Margaret Street about 4 a.m. When they entered the bedroom, she was wrapped in a blanket, visibly upset, bruised and bleeding. As she spoke to officers through the help of an interpreter, she fainted and fell to the floor.
The woman told police Lopez-Meneses had rented a room at her house, living there about eight months. In the weeks prior to the assault, Lopez-Meneses had moved out after she refused to let him move his girlfriend into his room. He had recently returned, asking for his room back, and she turned him away because she had already rented it out to someone else.
She told police she had been asleep in her bed when she awoke to Lopez-Meneses straddling her with his hands over her mouth and nose so she was unable to breathe. She begged for him to leave, but he ignored her and began to rape and beat her. When she screamed, he put his hands back over her mouth and nose.
A tenant living at the house heard the commotion and came out of his room, scaring Lopez-Meneses away.
The woman believed Lopez-Meneses used a house key that he failed to return to gain access to her home.
Police arrested him four days later in Eagan. He admitted to using the key he kept from the time he was renting, but told police the sex was consensual. He had the woman’s cell phone with him.
Lopez-Meneses had an identification card from Mexico and was in the U.S. illegally, authorities said.
A spokesman for U. S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said late Monday more information about Lopez-Meneses immigration status was not immediately available.
Following the sentencing, Lopez-Meneses’ attorney Maxwell Shek said his client decided between the plea agreement or risking significantly harsher consequences.
“I am not confident that is an excellent formula for the truth, but nevertheless, it is how our court system works,” Shek said in an email. “I respect the prosecutor in the case, but neither of us was there. He is a young man, and I look forward to seeing what he makes out of his life.”