5-18-2009 New Jersey:
MORRISTOWN -- A Morris County man who was awaiting sentencing for sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl got attacked by her mother in a hallway outside the courtroom today.
Just before Pascual Gonzalez, 39, was sentenced to five years in state prison in Superior Court in Morristown, Sheriff's officers had to restrain the mother from attacking Gonzalez.
The woman, whose name is being withheld to protect the girl's identity, became irate and grabbed Gonzalez by the shirt, tearing three buttons off of it, and screamed repeatedly that he made a comment to provoke her. However, Gonzalez told Sheriff's officers he did not say anything to the woman.
He claimed the attack was unprovoked and was witnessed by his brother, who accompanied him to court, as well as Sheriff's officers and an assistant prosecutor who were in hallway.
Gonzalez said he already had a restraining order against the woman and wanted to file a new complaint about the hallway incident. The officers later took his statement about it.
Gonzalez's child-sex assault came to light in Dover on Aug. 4, when police responded to a call about an attack on West Blackwell Street and arrived to find the mother smacking him and his car with a baseball bat, authorities had said. At that time, the mother had just learned that Gonzalez had been molesting her daughter.
Gonzalez pleaded guilty in January to second-degree sexual assault to the girl and to a petty-disorderly-persons complaint of harassment regarding another 14-year-old girl. The crimes occurred during a three-month span, ending on Aug. 2, in Dover, where Gonzalez and the victims lived.
After the mother calmed down this morning, the sentencing proceeded as scheduled. She told the judge how she and Gonzalez grew up together as neighbors, and that he "preyed" upon the girls. She said she often had confided in Gonzalez about herself having been a victim of molestation.
In a strained, emotion-choked voice, the mother told the judge, "When I felt bad, he used to be my friend, and all the while he was molesting my kid. This is exceptionally, exceptionally hard on our family. He took away my baby. The harm that he did - he is a very, very sick person."
Morris County Assistant Prosecutor Joseph D'Onofrio also read a victim-impact letter from the mother of the other girl. She said her daughter was vulnerable after the death of her father and that Gonzalez manipulated her, and she has since become "secretive and withdrawn" and won't speak to her mother.
"Pat Gonzalez ripped the innocence away from my daughter," the other mother's letter stated. "How do I reverse this? How do I erase these ugly memories from my daughter's mind? Will she heal? How long will it take?"
Gonzalez's attorney, Nabil Kassem, said that while "There is no explanation for this conduct that you could say was rational ...Mr. Gonzalez has come forward and acknowledged his responsibility."
In a quivering voice, Gonzalez apologized and described himself as a "family man," saying he has four children, ranging in age from 1 year old to 15 years old.
"I'm really sorry for everything that's occurred," Gonzalez said. "I made a mistake. I want to apologize to everyone for what I've done."
The plea agreement called for sentencing as if the crime were a lesser, third-degree crime, meaning Gonzalez faced up to five years in prison, instead of the maximum 10-year penalty on a second-degree violation. Gonzalez also was sentenced to parole supervision for life and to registration as a Megan's Law offender, and also must pay some $2,000 in fines and penalties.
Gonzalez previously waived his right of indictment and instead pleaded guilty to a direct accusation. Two other charges, of criminal sexual contact and child endangerment, also were dismissed under the plea agreement.
Dangler said, "That harm that was caused will stay with these families a long time." ..News Source.. by Jim Lockwood/The Star-Ledger