Archive for Thursday, May 19, 2011

Lawrence man, 69, ordered to 25 years to life for molesting 4-year-old at day care center

May 19, 2011, 5:56 p.m. Updated May 20, 2011, 12:39 a.m.


Richard Gonzalez

Richard Gonzalez

A Douglas County judge Thursday ordered a 69-year-old rural Lawrence man to serve 25 years to life in prison for molesting a 4-year-old Lawrence girl at a day care center in 2009.

“It is a harsh punishment for a terrible crime,” District Judge Sally Pokorny said after handing down the sentence to Richard Gonzalez.

A jury in January convicted Gonzalez of sexually abusing the girl at a rural Lawrence day care center. They found him guilty of aggravated criminal sodomy and aggravated indecent liberties with a child. Prosecutors had said the girl alleged the acts occurred several times over a six-week period.

Pokorny sentenced Gonzalez to concurrently serve 25 years to life on each count, meaning he wouldn’t be eligible for parole until he’s 94. If he ever gets out of prison, Gonzalez would be subject to lifetime supervision and electronic monitoring, the judge said.

Amy McGowan, a chief assistant district attorney, read a letter from the girl’s parents in court asking Pokorny to give Richard Gonzalez two consecutive life sentences, saying they feared as she grew older the crimes would affect her greatly.

“That is something that will be with her for a lifetime,” the parents said in the letter.

Defense attorneys Branden Bell and Carl Folsom had asked Pokorny to sentence Gonzalez to serve 75 months in prison because of his age and lack of prior criminal history, arguing a life sentence was unconstitutional.

A doctor also testified for the defense Thursday that he would not consider Gonzalez to be a pedophile and would not be likely to re-offend.

But Pokorny said the Kansas Legislature had passed Jessica’s Law attaching potential life sentences to child sex crimes for a reason, mainly because child victims are “the most vulnerable people that have been preyed upon,” who often don’t have the vocabulary to speak out about the abuse.

“Not only are we looking at physical injuries,” Pokorny said, “we are looking at an ongoing potential psychological injury.”

Gonzalez lived on the property in 2009 that was home to the Miles of Smiles Child Daycare Center, operated by his daughter, southwest of Lawrence. According to Kansas Department of Health and Environment records, the day care center closed in July 2010.

Prosecutors during the four-day trial accused Gonzalez of molesting the girl during nap time in summer 2009 at the day care center. The girl, who had started attending the day care earlier that summer, was eventually examined at a hospital, and investigators began looking into the case.

Bell and Folsom had criticized the state’s DNA evidence during the trial and had argued the girl has an overactive imagination and that investigators improperly interviewed the girl, causing her to detail the allegations.

Gonzalez is expected to appeal the verdict and sentence.


seeker_of_truth 7 years ago

Hope 25 is minimum served. Doubt he will live that long, naturally or otherwise.

ebyrdstarr 7 years ago

25 is the absolute minimum. Calling it a sentence of 25 to life is a bit misleading. It is a life sentence. But he is eligible for parole after 25 years. And at his age, it's unlikely he would make it to that first parole hearing, anyway.

KEITHMILES05 7 years ago

What a very, very sad situation. Why such an older person is attracted to do such a thing is beyond me. The innocent little girl will need alot of counseling.

someone8 7 years ago

I am glad he is going to be serving time and I hope someone has a good time with him in prison. It is a shame how many times nothing comes out of situations like this!

Russell Fryberger 7 years ago

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Tara Painter 7 years ago

This is why there should be more safety laws for at home daycares, seems to me all the things that happen are with the at home daycares. Maybe if real daycares whould charge so much we could just shut them down, there's just to many problems with them and the care are kids are reciving.

Sheila Hooper White 7 years ago

So it is the fault of home daycares? Really. I have run a daycare out of my home for 11 years. Some of the children stay with me from shortly after birth until they enter school. Are there bad home daycares? Sure. But they aren't all bad. I am inspected by the state once a year, unannounced. I also participate in programs that do drop in visits. I never know when these people are coming.

I love the children I care for like they are my own. When parents come to pick up their children, the child/children don't want to leave. I think you need to realize there are good home providers out their. That we don't sit around all day and watch tv or do our laundry. We actually work hard to help these children learn and grow. I continue to go to trainings, take classes, meet with other providers. I'm actually starting to work towards my CDA. I'm very proud of what I do and wouldn't trade it for the world. Seeing children take their first steps, say their first words or figure out a puzzle, by themselves, for the first time is the most amazing experience.

armywife 7 years ago

I will totally agree with you YaYa!!!

trymeone35 7 years ago

i have to agree. i too run a daycare and have for over 8 years, we do get a lot of in home visit from the state and food programs and such..... i love watching children learn to walk, or count,

Tara Painter 7 years ago

my brother took his son to a home daycare had the state come in every year, don't mean a thing, because he always came home with bruise's, and looked as if he hadn't been changed in a while, and what do you know IT BURN DOWN! The state has low standers, look at the Boardwalk fire, total violates the fire code and the fire chief passed it. There is more bad home daycares then they are any good ones.

Sheila Hooper White 7 years ago

So let me get this right. Because some individual set fire to the Boradwalk apartments, home daycares should be shut down. Because your nephew came home from a home daycare with bruise's and not being changed, home daycares should be shutdown. Did your brother continue to take his son to this place after all of the bruise's and uncleanliness? Would he of continued to take his child there if the place hadn't burned down? But home daycares should be shut down.....right?

I will agree that the state's standards aren't what they should be. I will also agree that there are bad home daycares, bad centers, bad nursing homes, etc. but not all are bad. I participate in a program that requires me to go above and beyond the standards of care. In my home the children have structure that they sometimes don't get at home. I spend more time with some of these children then their parents do. I work very hard at being an Early Childhood Educator. We have a schedule that we follow. In that schedule we learn many new things. . So I believe you are wrong when you say all home daycares should be shut down! There are many of us out there who take the time to help these children develop.

These things can happen anywhere. Centers, churches, public schools, private schools and even at home. Sorry you had such an awful experience with a home provider but not all of us are bad people. This is how we pay our bills, buy food for our families, continue our education, etc. Again I say walk a mile in my shoes and you'll see what a it's like.

Sheila Hooper White 7 years ago

I guess I also would like to know what you believe a "real daycare" is??

trymeone35 7 years ago

it happens in daycare's and nursing homes all the time. they just have more money to keep it quit .there is a lot of neglect that happened in daycare center and in the schools as well... so it's not just in home daycare. and we are real providers. you can't blame ever in home daycare for the few bad ones.

LadyJ 7 years ago

So caton, you say these things don't happen in "real daycares"? I can tell you from personal experience that they do.

puddleglum 7 years ago

he is clearly lucky to be alive.

Soapbox 7 years ago

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workinghard 7 years ago

Careful, you're beginning to sound like those "liberals" you hate so much. Please explain how "nature will take care of the rest".

justsayin 7 years ago

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years ago

I suppose for the next few years, this sentence may be a "punishment." But after ten years or so, it'll mostly be a sentence to a state-run nursing home facility.

trymeone35 7 years ago

i think he still go off easy.. this child will always think less of her self and think it was her fault as she gets older. i do hope she is getting a lot of therapy.people are so sick know days. i just can't understand why any one could do suck horrible things to children.......and for the parents of this angel, i commend you for being strong and believing your child...i too have put away a child molester, so i do know how these parents feel.... i hope they as well get help. for it is truly a life changing advent.... you are in my prayers...are ordeal happened over 11 yrs ago but it still seems like least he will never get out of daughters attacker is out know and thinks its funny when he runs into my daughter somewhere he just smiles like i gotta away with it in a way...sad thing is my daughter wasn't the first of his victims, the other parents didn't believe there kids..... bet they had wish they had after we put him in jail.... .a lot of people said we were not telling the truth. but when it was all said and done, he admitted it every thing he did to her.....death is to easy for these kind of people.... i believe they should get what the gave.........we should put all them on a island some where else......and sterilize them all...

somedude20 7 years ago

I have a hard time believing that at his age that this was the first time he has done this to a child. Bet old boy here has a history of this but was able to get away with it until now. I also have a tough time believing that his daughter, the owner, who should be watching these kids knew nothing of what was going on. Shady shady!!

Danielle Brunin 7 years ago

Actually, poster ebyrdstarr is an attorney and often comments on legal cases around here.

Louis White 7 years ago

Does anyone know for sure who this guy is? I think he worked at Peking Restaurant at 23Rd & Iowa in the late eighties. He had a wife that was way younger and and a small child. At the time he was approaching 50 but oddly didn't look an day over about 32. I know people can change over time but I remember him as a decent family man. I am shocked and saddened to learn of this, and for the victims, if it is true.

letsgiterdone 7 years ago

I too would like to know the name of the Dr. used for the defense. Also, I agree that this cannot possibly be his first offense. There are probably several people out there that have never accused this dude.

trymeone35 7 years ago

it is funny how they deleted things they dont like just because they can...I read all the post a i didn't see any thing that was bad to be deleted......

notorious_agenda 7 years ago

Tomorrow I will never remember this guy's face again. He is nothing, Now he can do nothing. Good job Jessica's Law!

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