LAWRENCE — A formal termination hearing for police officer Carlos Gonzalez, who is facing child rape charges in Florida and New Hampshire, was held at City Hall yesterday with Peter McQuillan, Methuen’s former city solicitor, presiding as the hearing officer.
McQuillan’s last day at work was May 31, although he’s still on the city payroll there collecting $2,000 per week in paid vacation until June 30.
Mayor William Lantigua is moving to fire Gonzalez, 48, a 25-year veteran, although two other police officers indicted on felony charges will remain on the payroll indefinitely.
McQuillan, who was not reappointed as city solicitor in Methuen, presided over the 11 a.m. hearing yesterday at Lawrence City Hall. City Attorney Charles Boddy and police Capt. Scott McNamara were also present.
Boddy said Walter Jacobs of North Andover, Gonzalez’s defense attorney, was notified of the hearing. A fax was also sent to the South Jail in Polk County Florida where Gonzalez is being held on a $165,000 bond, Boddy said.
Boddy said Jacobs asked for the hearing to be continued to a later date. But, Lantigua, the appointing authority, said “no,” Boddy said during the 26-minute hearing.
Gonzalez is charged with sexually assaulting a girl under age 13 in Salem, N.H. in 1992 and 1993 and raping a girl under age 12 in Haines City, Florida in July 2012. Boddy said the pending charges against Gonzalez, an officer sworn to protect the public, cause “grave concern.”
“It’s the city of Lawrence’s opinion that Officer Gonzalez is not fit to serve as an officer for the Lawrence Police Department ... Sufficient cause exists to terminate him,” Boddy said during the hearing.
In addition to the criminal investigation, Gonzalez was also investigated by the police department’s Internal Affairs division who spoke with witnesses in the sexual assault cases. “All witnesses were deemed credible,” Boddy said.