Man Sentenced for Sexually Abusing Girls
A former Sunday school teacher has been sentenced to 22 years in prison for molesting two young girls. On Thursday, 66-year-old Armondo Gonzalez pleaded guilty to criminal sexual conduct with a minor and lewd act with a child.
Gonzalez admitted to abusing a girl between 1991 and 1996, beginning when the victim was 4-years-old. He also admitted to repeatedly touching another child at the Salvation Army Church located off Highway 61. The case was reported in October 2015.
Gonzalez did not say much in court, but he did ask for forgiveness. One of the victims was in court and the other, who is still a minor, was represented by her parents. They asked the judge to impose the maximum penalty for his crimes. They cried as details of the abuse were read out loud.
Gonzalez molested the girls when they were between ages of four and 11. Mark Peper, the attorney representing the families, said Gonzalez’s sentence is a relief. He said seeking a maximum sentence was paramount to ensure Gonzalez is not free to hurt anyone else again.
“They don’t expect any sincerity from the defendant. They don’t expect any remorse from him. He’s made his bed, he’s going to lay in it,” said Peper. “He did this over and over and over again for the last 20-some-odd years and did it with his own wife in a Sunday school classroom.”
Thursday’s sentencing concludes the criminal proceedings in this case, but there’s still an ongoing civil lawsuit against the Salvation Army. The victim’s families are suing for negligence, arguing Gonzalez’s prior criminal record should have barred him from teaching Sunday school or being around children. In 2003, Gonzalez was charged and convicted with contributing to the delinquency of a minor.
In a statement Thursday, the Salvation Army acknowledged Gonzalez was a member of their church, but maintain he was never an employee, nor a Sunday school teacher. They added as soon as allegations surfaced in 2015, both Gonzalez and his wife were banned from any activites with their organization.