Ex-detention officer agrees to plea deal

QCS staff

A former juvenile detention officer accused of sexual misconduct with inmates has accepted a plea agreement that includes three years probation.

Robert Gonzalez was charged with two counts of criminal sexual penetration of a minor and two counts of criminal sexual contact with a minor after three inmates complained to authorities. The sex acts occurred between December 2002 and July 2003, the inmates alleged.

Gonzalez was working as an officer with Quay County Juvenile Detention Center when the female juveniles made the allegations, officials said.

A March trial ended with a hung jury.

The plea agreement, an Alford plea, allows Gonzalez to plead to two counts of sexual contact with a minor, according to prosecutor Don Schutte.

An Alford plea allows a criminal suspect to maintain innocence, while admitting evidence exists that could result in conviction.

Schutte said he is pleased with the outcome and that the previous trial played a role in negotiating the plea.

“The three girls were not anxious to go through this again. Too many things were coming together at once; we had to get this case resolved,” Schutte said.

Gonzalez may have to register as a sex offender, depending on the outcome of a psychological assessment, which officials expect to be completed in the next 30 days, Schutte said.

Schutte said Gonzalez will undergo a series of tests to determine if he falls under the legal definition of a sex offender.

“(The tests) will determine whether this was youthful indiscretion or if the young man has a serious problem,” Schutte said.
Gonzalez could not be reached for comment.