Maria Elena Gonzalez 47, was adjudicated guilty Monday, June 10 and sentenced to five years of probation and 200 hours of community service on a single charge of harassing a witness, victim or informant. The sentence came as a result of her involvement in a child sex abuse case at a local elementary school.
She is the wife of Orestes Gonzalez, 79, the man who pled guilty in December 2011 to charges that he repeatedly sexually abused young girls under his wife’s care at an after school care program at Lake Country Elementary School. The incidents happened between 2008 and 2010.
Mrs. Gonzalez is accused of phoning the parents of some victims and telling them to change their story. She was arrested after at least one set of parents called a Highlands County Sheriff’s Office detective to complain.
Mrs. Gonzalez was a school district employee at the time. Her husband was not, but frequently visited his wife at work and had unfettered access to children. He was sentenced to five concurrent 13-year sentences to be split between prison and probation. He is currently incarcerated.
A condition of Mrs. Gonzalez’s probation allows her to transfer to another jurisdiction if she chooses, meaning she could move to another county in Florida.