Plea to lesser charge scuttles Norwalk sex-assault trial

September 12, 2018

STAMFORD — Jury selection in a sexual-assault case set to go to trial was canceled on Tuesday after the Norwalk defendant was allowed to plead guilty to a lesser charge to spare the nine-year-old victim from having to testify.

Guilmar Gonzales, 42, of Lexington Avenue, was about to be tried on charges of first-degree sexual assault, risk of injury to a minor and unlawful restraint, stemming from a July 2017 incident that a mother and her nine-year-old daughter said occurred at a party in the woman’s Connecticut Avenue home in Norwalk.

Stamford State’s Attorney Richard Colangelo said Gonzales pleaded guilty to a felony charge of risk of injury to a minor, by impairing the health or morals of a child. Judge Richard Comerford gave him a five-year suspended sentence and five years probation.

Gonzales has an Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainer on him and he won’t be released from prison until his immigration status is reviewed, Colangelo said.

Colangelo said Gonzales was given the option of a lesser plea to avoid trial, which may have been difficult for the child.

“Mr. Gonzales admitted his conduct with the minor victim,” Colangelo said. “We wanted to protect the girl from reliving the incident by having to testify in court.”

The girl told police and forensic interviewers that Gonzales grabbed her and kissed her, and then put his hand down her pants and his finger inside her vagina, according to the four-page arrest affidavit.

Gonzales denied the charges, but spent the next 13 months in jail unable to post a $150,000 court appearance bond.

Gonzales’ attorney Alex Martinez declined comment on the case.