An inmate who had pleaded guilty to child molestation has been released on November 22. Now, a Central California sheriff says the release was only due to a “screw-up” and that it was a mistaken move.
Merced County jailers mistakenly allowed 38-year-old admitted child molester Primitivo Gonzalez to post bail more than two weeks ago.
Gonzalez had pleaded guilty to the horrible crime of repeatedly molesting a 5-year-old girl.
A judge ordered Gonzalez held without bail until sentencing of 35 years to life in prison.
Merced County Sheriff Vern Warnke shares that he believes that Gonzalez may have quickly returned to Mexico. He adds that the confessed child molester is no longer a threat to Merced County. However, no pieces of evidence were presented to establish that Gonzalez has returned indeed to Mexico and could no longer be of potential harm to children in the U.S.
It is also not clear if how long Gonzalez still stayed in the country after release before going back home to Mexico- if indeed he is Mexico by now.
Warnke also says he takes responsibility for the mistaken release and has taken steps to prevent a repeat of the error. It was not clarified, however, how the mistaken release happened exactly.
The sheriff also defends their decision not to immediately make public the release of Gonzalez.
It is not clear if any official, including Warnke, would face any sanction for the mistaken release of Gonzalez. Gonzalez, after all, went “missing” for eight days before the Sheriff’s Office discovered the situation.
Gonzalez is a dangerous man. He pleaded guilty on November 1 to two counts of forcible lewd acts upon a child and one count of lewd or lascivious acts upon a child under 14 years of age. All three counts are considered as violent sex crimes carrying felony strike convictions.
Gonzalez molested her victim in a span of four years starting when she was 5 years old and even threatened to beat the child if she told her parents about what he’s doing to her.