MIAMI – A judge sentenced a former South Florida police lieutenant to life in prison Friday for molesting two young girls who are now in their 20s.
“There will be no closure here,” Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Miguel de la O said during the sentencing hearing for Braulio Gonzalez, 48. “The fact that people continue to defend you is just classic cognitive dissonance.”
A jury deliberated just 15 minutes three months ago before convicting Gonzalez of armed kidnapping and lascivious molestation, the Miami Herald reported.
Gonzalez’s defense lawyer, Bruce Lehr, had asked for a 25-year sentence, noting that he was a dedicated officer who saved multiple lives during his time on the force. His wife of four years also testified on his behalf during the trial, along with two police officers.
Prosecutors argued that Gonzalez lived a double life.
“Behind the scenes, he was very violent,” prosecutor Natalie Snyder said. “He’s a very dangerous person.”
Gonzalez, who worked for the Miami-Dade Police Department, did not address the court or apologize to the victims, the newspaper reported. He is expected to appeal the conviction.
Gonzalez was arrested in 2018 after a girl told a psychologist he fondled her several times when she was between 8 and 10 years old, court records show. She also told an interviewer for the Florida Department of Children & Families that he had pointed a gun at her and threatened to kill a relative if she told.
Her sister also told officials she was molested by Gonzalez.
On Friday, they told the judge Gonzalez had shattered their lives, the Herald reported.
Gonzalez had been allowed to keep his job despite multiple allegations that had repeatedly beaten and abused his former lovers, the newspaper reported, citing internal police files. Miami-Dade police cleared him of those allegations.
“He had hurt so many people for such a long time, and he always got away with it,” the mother of the victims told the court. “He will never change.”