EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

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March 7, 2013

Assault complaint against cop reopened


Gonzalez is charged by Haines City police with sexual battery by a custodian on a person between the ages of 12 and 18 and selling, giving or serving alcohol to a person under age 21. The victim, who has not been identified by police, said she was assaulted in a private home on July 22, 2012. The arrest warrant and detectives’ reports were all impounded at Lawrence District Court.

Haines City is located between Tampa and Orlando.

Lawrence detectives launched an immediate investigation after the victim reported the incident here in December. Gonzalez, who earns $60,000 annually, was placed on paid administrative leave on Dec. 17 as police investigated. He remains on paid leave.

Police Chief John Romero said he also suspended Gonzalez’s right to carry a firearm.

North Andover attorney Walter Jacobs represented Gonzalez at his arraignment in Lawrence District Court last week. Jacobs could not be reached for comment for this story.

Depending on what legal action is taken against him in Florida, the city can halt Gonzalez’s pay.

Mayor William Lantigua, however, has allowed Gonzalez and three other police officers facing criminal charges to remain on the city payroll although they’ve been suspended.

Officer Daron Fraser was placed on paid administrative leave on Jan. 27 after he allegedly assaulted a superior officer. Fraser allegedly “belly-bumped” a sergeant in the 90 Lowell St. police station after an argument over a television being left on and whether a door should be closed.

Fraser was previously convicted of abusing his ex-girlfriend and spent 29 months on paid administrative leave, racking up more than $150,000 without working. Fraser earns $60,000 annually.

Deputy Chief Melix Bonilla, who earns $140,000 annually, was indicted on felony charges in September in an ongoing investigation into Lantigua and his administration. Bonilla is accused of swapping 13 city-owned vehicles for four Chevrolets with a Lantigua friend. The state inspector general said the city lost $30,000 in the deal.

Also in September, Officer P.J. Lopez, who earns $60,000, was indicted by a federal grand jury. His is accused of making arrangements with a local tow company to have cars he ticketed towed in exchange for a “stream of benefits,” including a $4,000 snowplow.

Follow staff reporter Jill Harmacinski on Twitter under the screenname EagleTribJill. Follow Jo-Anne MacKenzie on Twitter @ETNHEditor.

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