BRENTWOOD — A judge removed the defense team for an ex-Lawrence, Mass., police officer facing charges that he sexually assaulted a Salem girl in the early 1990s.
Judge Marguerite Wageling dismissed two Massachusetts lawyers for Carlos Gonzalez, 48, just as he was about to go on trial in Rockingham County Superior Court on 14 counts of aggravated felonious sexual assault.
Gonzales was expected to go on trial this month until county prosecutors raised concerns about close personal connections the defense team once had with the girl and two other witnesses in the case.
Defense lawyers Walter and Alexandria Jacobs, who are father and daughter, were close friends with Gonzalez for several years and also knew the alleged victim and two other witnesses in the case, according to court records.
Walter Jacobs, a former medical doctor, also served as the girl’s primary care physician as a young girl, Assistant County Attorney Kirsten Wilson said in court papers.
Wageling concluded that because of the past relationship the defense lawyers had with the witnesses, including the victim, they had to be barred from representing Gonzalez.
The judge said that Walter Jacobs already relayed some information he knew personally about the victim during one pretrial hearing in April.
“Walter Jacobs asserted to the court the fact that (the victim) never disclosed her sexual assaults to him in his capacity as her physician,” Wageling said in a court order. “He shared these facts on the record for the purpose of demonstrating that he has no conflict in representing the defendant in this case.”
Walter Jacobs resigned from practicing medicine in 2012 as part an agreement with the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Medicine for failing to disclose information on his renewal applications, according to court records.
Wilson suggested in court papers that allowing Jacobs to cross-examine the witnesses they personally knew violated the state’s rules of professional conduct.
Wageling also agreed with prosecutors that the two lawyers could become material witnesses in the case, given their personal knowledge.
“The court finds that it would not be a ‘fair administration of justice’ to allow the former primary care physician and/or close personal friend of a witness (an alleged rape victim) with personal knowledge of the witness during the time frame at issue to cross-examine the witness during a trial,” Wageling concluded.
Gonzalez was allowed to keep his New Hampshire attorney, Kurt Olson, who is contesting the judge’s decision.
A jury acquitted Gonzalez during a recent trial in Florida on Nov. 19 in another sexual assault case involving a young girl.
County prosecutors say Gonzalez repeatedly abused the girl in Salem between May 1992 and May 1994 beginning when she was 11 years old. Gonzalez was arrested last February. He joined the Lawrence (Mass.) Police Department in 1998, but was studying to become a lawyer at the time of his arrest.
No new trial date has been set.