But Alex Cain of North Andover, Lopez’s defense attorney, noted Lopez had no criminal history prior to this conviction.
“If the defendant is incarcerated, it is almost certain his family will face financial ruin ... (Lopez) can’t change the past, but, with the court’s assistance, he can potentially change his future and that of his family,” Cain wrote.
Born Jan. 20, 1966, in Caguas, Puerto Rico, Lopez was one of four children. When he was an infant, Lopez’s family moved to Brooklyn, N.Y. where he had a difficult childhood, raised in poverty by a mother and stepfather who “suffered from heavy narcotic dependency,” Cain wrote in his sentencing memo.
Due to the situation, Lopez “assumed the role of raising his siblings” and he also looked for “stability and safety for his life outside of his home.” This led to Lopez joining a local street gang, which he eventually severed ties with at age 13, but endured threats from as an older teen, Cain wrote.
Working to support his siblings, Lopez often missed school and ultimately obtained a GED. In 1987, he moved to Woburn, Mass. and several years later, to Lawrence, Cain said.
Today, Lopez has four children and “is heavily involved” in their upbringing. “He is strong parental influence in their lives and the primary means of financial support for his youngest child,” according to Cain.
Cain also pointed to Lopez’s “solid employment history,” which includes past jobs with the Middlesex County Sheriff’s Department, Chelsea Housing Authority and Newton and Lawrence Police Departments.
As he awaited sentencing, Cain said Lopez has actively sought short-term employment. And, once this matter is behind him, Lopez wants to train to become an electrician, Cain said.
“While these factors do not excuse or justify Mr. Lopez’s actions, they support the conclusion that a substantial sentence of 36 months probation is appropriate to ensure he remains with his family, protect the public, punish him, and deter others from engaging in similar behavior,” said Cain.