Gonzalez had pleaded guilty to repeatedly molesting a 5-year-old girl. A judge had ordered him held without bail until sentencing, when he faced 35 years-to-life in prison. Merced County Sheriff Vern Warnke says he takes responsibility for the mistaken release and has taken steps to prevent a repeat.
The sheriff defends not making public the man's release. He says he believed Gonzalez quickly returned to Mexico and is no longer a threat in Merced County.
Information from: Merced Sun-Star, http://www.mercedsun-star.com