Calif. Prison Guard Sentenced for Having Sex with Inmate in View of Other Prisoners: 'Depraved'
Tina Gonzalez, 26, took responsibility for her crimes at the Fresno County jail, but also had been made vulnerable by the recent end of her marriage, her attorney said
A California corrections officer who had sex with an inmate in full view of 11 others will serve 210 days locked up, followed by two years of probation.
The sentence delivered Tuesday by Judge Michael Idiart in Fresno County followed testimony by Assistant Sheriff Steve McComas, who said the actions of former county jail guard Tina Gonzalez were "something only a depraved mind can come up with," reports The Fresno Bee.
According to Fresno TV station KSEE, the sheriff's office began to investigate after staff members were tipped in December 2019 to a county jail inmate with a cell phone who also was said to be in a sexual relationship with the officer.
A search of the inmate's cell turned up the phone, and Gonzalez quit the sheriff's office after being interviewed by detectives, the outlet reports.
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Gonzalez, 26, pleaded no contest to a felony count of sexual activity by a detention facility employee with a consenting confined adult, a felony count of possession of drugs or an alcoholic beverage in a jail facility, and a misdemeanor count of possession of cellular device with intent to deliver to an inmate, Assistant District Attorney Steve Wright confirmed to PEOPLE.
McComas elaborated on the allegations in court, saying an investigation showed not only that Gonzalez had sex with the inmate, but she also gave the inmate razors -- a potential weapon behind bars -- and told him when officers would inspect his cell, reports the Bee.
Gonzalez also allegedly cut a hole in her uniform to make sex with the inmate easier, and her actions were witnessed by 11 other inmates, he said.
Phone logs revealed Gonzalez kept in contact with the inmate even after she was caught.
"She took an oath which she betrayed and in doing so endangered her coworkers' lives," McComas said. "But she has shown no remorse. She continually calls and has sexually explicit conversations with the inmate in question and boasts about the crimes she carried out."
Her defense attorney, Martin Taleisnik, said in court, "It was never her intention to bring any harm or danger to the employees in the jail or anyone else in the jail," according to the Bee. He said Gonzalez took responsibility for her actions, but also said the recent end of her marriage at the time of her actions made Gonzalez vulnerable.
"What you did was terrible, stupid and you have ruined your career," Judge Idiart told Gonzalez in court, according to the Bee. "But I also believe that people can redeem themselves and you have the rest of your life to do that."
Gonzalez faced a maximum of three years and eight months in prison. The prosecution recommended a sentence of 16 months in prison, with Taleisnik requesting probation.
Gonzalez had worked as a correctional officer since 2016.