EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

December 13, 2013

Former cop arraigned in child sex assault

Gonzalez extradited from Florida, faces 14 charges in N.H.

By Doug Ireland

---- — BRENTWOOD — A former Lawrence police officer, recently acquitted of raping a child in Florida, was arraigned on sexual assault charges yesterday in New Hampshire.

Carlos Gonzalez, 49, appeared before Judge N. William Delker in Rockingham Superior Court to face 14 counts of aggravated felonious sexual assault for allegedly abusing an 11-year-old Salem girl in 1992 and 1993.

Not guilty pleas were entered on behalf of Gonzalez, who had been extradited Wednesday from the Polk County Jail in Florida, according to Assistant County Attorney Kirsten Wilson. Gonzalez remained silent as the charges against him were presented, she said.

Gonzalez arrived at the Rockingham County jail by prisoner transport van Wednesday afternoon and was held without bail until his arraignment, Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Al Brackett said.

Delker set Gonzalez’s bail at $100,000 personal recognizance after it was agreed he would live with a relative in the Lawrence area, Wilson said. He is not to have contact with the alleged victim in the Salem case. A trial date was not set.

Gonzalez was released from the county jail late yesterday.

Although Gonzalez was acquitted by a Polk County grand jury Nov. 19, he remained in custody in Florida for an additional three weeks until he could be transported to New Hampshire, Brackett said. He said Gonzalez has cooperated with authorities since his arrival.

In Florida, Gonzalez was found not guilty of sexual battery of a girl between the ages of 12 and 18, and selling, giving or selling alcohol to a person under 21, according to a court spokeswoman.

The girl told Lawrence police in December 2012 she was assaulted by Gonzalez at a home July 22, 2012, while he was vacationing in Haines City, Fla.

Gonzalez, a 25-year Lawrence police veteran who was fired from his job, was arrested Feb. 27 in Andover at the Massachusetts School of Law, where he was a student.

The arrest in the Florida case prompted Salem police to reopen their previous sexual assault investigation involving Gonzalez.

In March, Salem Deputy police Chief Shawn Patten confirmed that his department received a report in 2005 of an incident involving Gonzalez and a child dating to 1994, but not reported to police for 11 years.

But based on allegations against Gonzalez last spring, Salem police decided to take another look at the complaint, Patten said.

Gonzalez also was investigated for possible sexual assault on a minor in Newton in 2005.

But the Rockingham County attorney’s office determined there was not sufficient evidence to bring charges forward in the Newton complaint, based on the age of the alleged victim, police Chief Lawrence Streeter said earlier this year,

As he sat in a Florida jail cell, Gonzalez was indicted by a Rockingham Superior Court grand jury in June. The indictments alleged he sexually assaulted the 11-year-old on 14 occasions between Nov. 1, 1992, and April 30, 1993.

Gonzalez was relieved of his duties as a police officer in December 2012 and placed on paid administrative leave.

He remained on the Lawrence Police Department’s payroll until July 1, when he was fired by Mayor William Lantigua.

In August, the city rejected a plea from the Lawrence Patrolmen’s Union to reinstate Gonzalez to his job.

Staff writer Jo-Anne MacKenzie contributed to this report.