A California corrections officer who had sex with an inmate has been sentenced to serve 210 days in jail, followed by two years of probation.The sentence was delivered on Tuesday by Judge Michael Idiart in Fresno County following testimony by the prison guard's former boss.
Tina Gonzalez, 26, who worked as a correctional officer from 2016 to 2019, was arrested on May 1 last year after an investigation by the Sheriff's Office's vice unit and the department's internal affairs division. The probe was prompted by a tip in December 2019 that she was having sex with one of the male inmates and also provided him with a cell phone.
She Cut a Hole in Her Uniform to Have Sex with the Inmate in Front of Other Inmates
Investigators found the phone during a search of the inmate's cell and Gonzalez quit the sheriff's office after being interviewed by detectives.
Gonzalez 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, according to Assistant District Attorney Steve Wright.
According to Gonzalez's former boss Assistant Sheriff Steve McComas, Gonzalez not only had sex with the inmate and provided him with a cell phone but also gave him razor blades (a potential weapon behind bars) and warned him about future cell inspections by officers. McComas added that Gonzalez cut a hole in her uniform to make it easier to have sexual intercourse with the inmate and her actions were witnessed by 11 other inmates.
"Cutting a hole in your pants to make it easier to have sex with an inmate and having intercourse in full view of 11 other inmates is something only a depraved mind could come up with," McComas said.
Gonzalez's attorney, Martin Taleisnik, claimed her "marriage was falling apart" when she committed the acts. "It was never her intention to bring any harm or danger to the employees in the jail or anyone else in the jail," said Taleisnik.
Gonzalez Continued to Have Sexual Conversations with the Inmate
Gonzalez continued to maintain contact with the inmate for over a year, even after she was caught, according to phone logs.
"The fact that she continually calls, has sexually explicit conversations with the inmate in question, and even boasts about the crimes she carried out shows that she's incapable of owning up to her mistakes and will undoubtedly continue in the future," McComas said at the sentencing hearing.
Defense Lawyer Says Gonzalez was Struggling with Her Marriage at the Time
Gonzalez's 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," and noted that his client took responsibility for her actions, but also said that her marriage was falling apart at the time she committed the acts.
"What you did was terrible, stupid and you have ruined your career," Judge Idiart told Gonzalez in court, "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.