EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

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April 22, 2013

Chief wants to fire cop charged with rape

(Continued)

Lantigua never responded to Cunha’s letter, copies of which were also sent to Romero and Essex County District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett. A copy of the IG’s letter was obtained through a public records request to Blodgett’s office.

When asked for comment on the letter, however, Blodgett’s spokesperson, Carrie Kimball-Monahan, issued a statement saying, “As you may be aware, the issue of payment of indicted police officers is not within the control or jurisdiction of the D.A.’s office so it is not appropriate for us to comment on it.”

Gonzalez is charged with sexually assaulting a girl while he was on vacation in Haines City, Fla. in July. Haines City is located between Tampa and Orlando.

He was placed on paid administrative leave in December after police learned he was under investigation for sexual assault in Florida. He was formally arraigned in Florida on March 20 on charges of sexual battery on a person age 12 to 18 by a custodian and selling, giving or serving alcohol to a person under age 21.

If he does make bail in Florida, Gonzalez cannot possess or drink alcohol, carry a weapon or have any direct or indirect contact with the victim.

Gonzalez is also under investigation in southern New Hampshire where sexual assault allegations were reported in 2005 in Salem and Newton, N.H., investigators have said.

Bonilla, Lantigua’s former campaign manager, and Lopez, also a Lantigua political supporter, were both indicted in September.

An Essex County grand jury indicted Bonilla on five extortion, fraud and conspiracy charges for his alleged role in an illegal swap of city owned cars with Bernardo Pena, a local car dealer and Lantigua friend.

Lopez, meanwhile, was indicted for lying to a federal agent and for making arrangements with a local tow company to have cars he ticketed towed by the company in exchange for a stream of benefits.

Follow staff reporter Jill Harmacinski on Twitter under the screenname EagleTribJill.

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