Ex-jailer faces June jury

William Thompson

Robert Gonzales, the Quay County Detention Center employee charged with criminal sexual acts involving minors, is scheduled to appear before a jury in Tenth Judicial District Court June 22.

Gonzales was indicted by a grand jury on Feb. 10 on two counts of criminal sexual penetration of a minor and two counts of criminal sexual contact of a minor. Gonzales had been previously arrested in November 2003 for alleged sexual acts involving three juvenile females. Michael T. Garrett, the Clovis-based attorney for Gonzales, said he is prepared to go to trial. “The trial is set for June 22,” said Garrett. “I will be representing Mr. Gonzales before the court.”

Garrett declined to speculate as to what he expects during the upcoming trial, and made no mention of any effort to plea bargain. Donald Schutte, chief deputy district attorney, said he would not welcome a plea bargain in the case.
“I doubt there will be a plea agreement,” said Schutte. “I don’t want to see the court’s discrimination limited with regard to sentencing.” Schutte said the victims’ stories need to be heard in court.

“The court needs to hear what the three girls have to say,” he said. “The three girls need to let the court know how the alleged actions of Mr. Gonzales affected them.”
Any plea agreement in the case would have to be considered by the court on or before June 7, according to court documents. Despite the court’s setting of the June 22 date for the jury trial, Schutte said the trial may actually begin at a later date.

“I will be surprised if we go to trial in June,” he said. “We have other older cases still to try. When we do go to trial, I want the judge (Judge Ricky D. Purcell) to hear all the evidence against Gonzales before sentencing.”