EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

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February 28, 2013

Cop arrested on sex charge

LAWRENCE — Police officer Carlos Gonzalez is accused of sexually assaulting a child while he was on vacation in Florida last summer.

Gonzalez, 48, was at Massachusetts School of Law in Andover, where he is studying to be a lawyer, when he was arrested and charged on a fugitive from justice warrant at 3 p.m. yesterday, police said.

A police officer since May 1988, Gonzalez is charged by Haines City, Fla. police with sexual battery by a custodian on a person between ages 12 and 18 and selling, giving or serving alcohol to a person under age 21, police said yesterday.

Haines City is located between Tampa and Orlando in Florida.

The victim, who was not identified by police yesterday, told police she was assaulted on July 22, 2012 in a private home, police said.

Detectives from Haines City flew to Massachusetts yesterday to arrest Gonzalez. He was taken into custody by Lawrence police, who were assisted by Andover police at the law school, and booked afterwards at the Lawrence Police Department.

He was held overnight without bail and is scheduled for arraignment today in Lawrence District Court on the fugitive from justice charge.

Police Chief John Romero said Lawrence detectives launched an immediate investigation after the victim reported the incident here in December.

“Even though we did not have jurisdiction, the fact he was a Lawrence police office prompted an investigation,” Romero said.

Gonzalez, who earns $60,000 annually, was placed on paid administrative on Dec. 17 as police investigated. However, in light of his arrest yesterday, Romero said Gonzalez’s pay status is now “under review.”

If he is indicted in Florida, Romero said the city can halt Gonzalez’s pay and possibly terminate him.

However, Mayor William Lantigua, the appointing authority, has allowed three police officers, including two facing felony indictments, to remain on paid administrative leave for months.

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