EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

March 1, 2013

Lawrence officer heading to Florida to face sex charge

LAWRENCE — City police officer Carlos Gonzalez won’t fight extradition and will return voluntarily to Florida to face a child rape charge.

As he tried to hide his face, Gonzalez was arraigned yesterday in Lawrence District Court as fugitive from justice.

After questioning by Judge Kevin Gaffney, Gonzalez, 48, a 24-year Lawrence police veteran, agreed to return to Haines City, Fla. where is he accused of sexually assaulting a girl while vacationing there in July.

On Wednesday, detectives from Haines City — which is located between Tampa and Orlando — flew to Massachusetts to arrest Gonzalez for sexual battery by a custodian on a person over age 12 and under age 18 and selling, delivering or serving alcohol to a minor.

The victim, who has not been identified by police, said she was assaulted on July 22, 2012 in a private home in Haines City.

After Florida detectives arrived, Gonzalez was arrested Wednesday afternoon at the Massachusetts School of Law in Andover where he is studying to be a lawyer.

Defense attorney Walter Jacobs yesterday asked if Gonzalez could stay behind a partially-closed door in the prisoner’s dock, a move that would have allowed the police officer to be shielded from the public and media.

However, Gaffney rebuffed the request saying “I don’t see any reason to keep him back.”

“Bring him out,” he told court officers.

Once in the courtroom, as he was shackled and handcuffed, Gonzalez repeatedly tried to pull his coat up over his face and look away from the judge. “You have to put your hand down so I can see you,” Gaffney told him.

Gonzalez admitted he was the person named in the Florida arrest warrant and that he was not under the influence of any drugs, alcohol or medications that would cloud his judgment yesterday morning.

By agreeing to go to Haines City and face charges, Gonzalez will now be held without bail for about a week while arrangements are made with a transport team from Florida.

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