Daily News/Carrie Melago

Jose Mendoza, a 25 year old landscaper from El Salvador, was found guilty late Tuesday on fourcounts of sodomy and sexual abuse, charges that carry up to 40 years in prison. The brave testimonyof a 5 year old led a Suffolk County jury to convict him. Mendoza characterized his contact withthe child as kissing and tickling. He lived with the child's family in Central Islip when hesubjected her to oral sex in March. In addition to the young girl's testimony, two doctors and anurse testified about medical evidence consistent with abuse. He was found guilty of one count offirst degree sodomy, two counts of first degree sexual abuse and one count of endangering thewelfare of a minor. He was acquitted of first degree rape and one count of sexual abuse. Mendozawill be sentenced on January 11. He was jailed without bail and must register as a sex offender. Inaddition, INS will be notified of the conviction, and Mendoza will be deported to his nativecountry after he serves his prison term.

(New York)