EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

March 7, 2013

Assault complaint against cop reopened

By Jill Harmacinski and Jo-Anne MacKenzie
Staff Writers

---- — LAWRENCE — Police in Salem, N.H. have reopened a 2005 sexual assault complaint against Carlos Gonzalez, a Lawrence police officer already charged with child rape in Florida.

In addition, Gonzalez was the subject of an investigation of a possible sexual assault on a minor in Newton, N.H., in 2005, police there said yesterday.

Salem Deputy police Chief Shawn Patten yesterday 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.

No charges were brought then, but, based on the new allegations against Gonzalez, Salem police are taking another look at the 2005 complaint, Patten said.

“We are forwarding our information to Lawrence,” Patten said. “We are taking a fresh look at the case and all the documentation we have from it.”

In 2005, Gonzalez was living was his then wife at 11 Kenwood Drive in Newton.

Newton police Chief Lawrence Streeter said a restraining order was issued against Gonzalez in late August 2005, relating to domestic issues involving his wife.

Gonzalez also was involved in an investigation into a sexual assault on a minor, Streeter said, reported earlier in August 2005.

The Rockingham County attorney’s office determined there was not sufficient evidence to bring charges forward, he said, based on the age of the alleged victim.

Gonzalez, 48, a 25-year veteran of the department, was charged last week with sexually assaulting a girl while he was vacationing in Haines City, Fla., last July.

Held without bail after his arraignment as a fugitive from justice, Gonzalez is at Middleton Jail awaiting transport to Haines City. The police officer is being held in a “secure area” away from the “general population” at Middleton Jail, said Maurice Pratt, Middleton Jail spokesman.

On Feb. 27, Gonzalez was at the Massachusetts School of Law in Andover, where he is studying to be a lawyer, when he was arrested and charged on the fugitive from justice warrant. At his arraignment the following day, Gonzalez said he would not fight extradition to Haines City.

Gonzalez is charged by Haines City police with sexual battery by a custodian on a person between the ages of 12 and 18 and selling, giving or serving alcohol to a person under age 21. The victim, who has not been identified by police, said she was assaulted in a private home on July 22, 2012. The arrest warrant and detectives’ reports were all impounded at Lawrence District Court.

Haines City is located between Tampa and Orlando.

Lawrence detectives launched an immediate investigation after the victim reported the incident here in December. Gonzalez, who earns $60,000 annually, was placed on paid administrative leave on Dec. 17 as police investigated. He remains on paid leave.

Police Chief John Romero said he also suspended Gonzalez’s right to carry a firearm.

North Andover attorney Walter Jacobs represented Gonzalez at his arraignment in Lawrence District Court last week. Jacobs could not be reached for comment for this story.

Depending on what legal action is taken against him in Florida, the city can halt Gonzalez’s pay.

Mayor William Lantigua, however, has allowed Gonzalez and three other police officers facing criminal charges to remain on the city payroll although they’ve been suspended.

Officer Daron Fraser was placed on paid administrative leave on Jan. 27 after he allegedly assaulted a superior officer. Fraser allegedly “belly-bumped” a sergeant in the 90 Lowell St. police station after an argument over a television being left on and whether a door should be closed.

Fraser was previously convicted of abusing his ex-girlfriend and spent 29 months on paid administrative leave, racking up more than $150,000 without working. Fraser earns $60,000 annually.

Deputy Chief Melix Bonilla, who earns $140,000 annually, was indicted on felony charges in September in an ongoing investigation into Lantigua and his administration. Bonilla is accused of swapping 13 city-owned vehicles for four Chevrolets with a Lantigua friend. The state inspector general said the city lost $30,000 in the deal.

Also in September, Officer P.J. Lopez, who earns $60,000, was indicted by a federal grand jury. His is accused of making arrangements with a local tow company to have cars he ticketed towed in exchange for a “stream of benefits,” including a $4,000 snowplow.

Follow staff reporter Jill Harmacinski on Twitter under the screenname EagleTribJill. Follow Jo-Anne MacKenzie on Twitter @ETNHEditor.