Jennifer Gonzales

PROVO — A woman who prosecutors say manipulated her 16-year-old proctor son for sexual favors will serve 180 days in jail.

Jennifer Gonzales, 32, was arrested in March after her husband came home to find Gonzales and the proctor son in the basement together, partially clothed, with candles and massage oil.

Richard Gonzales chased the boy out with an unloaded handgun and threatened his wife. He recently pleaded no-contest to using or displaying a dangerous weapon in a fight.

Jennifer Gonzales pleaded guilty in June to two charges of attempted forcible sex abuse for allowing her proctor son to massage her buttocks and breasts and was sentenced Monday.

"The court is concerned about a couple of things," Judge Samuel McVey said. "The 15-year age difference or thereabouts ... (and her) position of responsibility here. She was entrusted not only by the state of Utah, but by society in general to provide appropriate supervision to this minor. Obviously that did not happen."

A proctor parent is someone who takes temporary care of teens in state custody.

The victim had been in a youth detention center and was placed with the Gonzales family for support.

"He was ... angry, hurting, all alone, he needed someone to love him, care for him," the victim's grandmother tearfully said Monday afternoon. "Instead of being the parent for him, you took the time to work on him so you could satisfy your own sexual urges. We trusted you. We asked you to care for him like a mother, not like a lover."

The grandmother, whom the Deseret News does not name because it would identify the victim of sexual assault, asked Judge Samuel McVey to give Jennifer Gonzales enough time in jail so she can truly consider her actions and get the sex-offender treatment she needs.

"You crossed that line," the grandmother said. "He will never be the same because of what happened to him in your home."

Defense attorney Mike Esplin asked if Jennifer Gonzales could participate in the GPS-ankle-monitoring system, as she has been working two jobs and trying to keep "her financial head above water."

Richard Gonzales filed for divorce after the charges were filed.

Along with 180 days in jail, Jennifer Gonzales was sentenced to 36 months of probation and ordered to have no unsupervised contact with children under the age of 18, plus complete sex-offender treatment.

Prosecutor Mariane O'Bryant said she was most concerned about Gonzales' position of trust and that the victim was an especially vulnerable teen.

"This individual, as well as many of our teenage victims, thought he was involved, thought he was being romantic," O'Bryant said. "He did not disclose to everyone until it became clear there was no relationship. I think he was trying to protect her because he loved her."

O'Bryant said she believes the consequences would have been similar had it been a male arrested, especially if he had accepted responsibility like Jennifer Gonzales did, and had a lack of criminal history, also like Gonzales.


E-mail: sisraelsen@desnews.com