An Arizona man is accused of pretending to have Down syndrome and hiring caregivers to change his diapers and bathe him over the summer, police say.
Paul Anthony Menchaca, 30, was arrested September 6 at his parent’s Gilbert home, where he also resided, ABC15 reports. He was reportedly working for a local school district when committing the alleged acts.
According to authorities who spoke to the news station, Menchaca hired three female caregivers while pretending to be a woman named “Amy,” whose adult son with Down syndrome needed diaper changes and baths.
Police say the first victim responded in May to an ad via Carelinx, a website that aids families in hiring professional, licensed help, AZFamily reports. She reportedly told officials that she assisted Menchaca with baths and diaper changes at various locations in the East Valley on 30 occasions.
A second caregiver was referred to help Menchaca in July, and a third in August. According to the report, the three women knew each other and all reported that Menchaca became sexually aroused while they bathed him.
“He needed showers and grooming, he couldn’t use the bathroom himself, he couldn’t really be alone by himself. He acted like a child; his whole demeanor was childlike. He would act in tantrums, talk like a child, act like a child,” one caregiver told ABC 15. ”
“Why would you do that? Why would you make us change you knowing you didn’t have to. Why didn’t you give us a choice?”
The first victim told authorities that she became suspicious and followed the suspect to his home after he was dropped off by a separate caregiver, according to a probable cause statement obtained by AZFamily.
“[The victim] was greeted by [Menchaca’s] actual mother and father and discovered [Menchaca] did not have Down syndrome and did not require diaper changes.”
When the victims confronted Menchaca, police say he confessed to lying about having Down syndrome.
At his initial court appearance, Menchaca insisted to Commissioner Michelle Carson that he is “special needs.”
“I just want to let you know I am special needs,” Menchaca reportedly said.
“I do have a low IQ level. And…my mom and dad both have paperwork to prove that. And I’m starting to talk to my dad about getting me some help and getting me into a counselor and probably like a rehab center to talk to somebody.”
The suspect reportedly listed his employment as being a school crossing guard for the Chandler Unified School District during the timeframe that he allegedly fooled the caregivers. The school district told ABC15 that Menchaca resigned August 31 and “nothing came up” during the hiring process, adding that he “was employed in various part-time jobs for about two years in support staff positions.”
Menchaca is charged with fraudulent schemes and sexual abuse. He is due back in court for a preliminary hearing on September 17.
[Feature photo: Paul Menchaca, Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office]