Over the weekend, I was contacted by several of the family members of Alexander Ezekial Gonzales, who was the subject of a news article on this website Friday announcing his 11 year prison sentence for child abuse.
The family have since asked me repeatedly, in multiple ways via multiple channels, to take the article down. This has taken the form of asking, of ranting, of pleading, of alleging some wrongdoing by Parker Live, of even threatening legal action. I have consistently but politely refused to remove the article and stand by that decision, although there are a few things I’d like to pass along to our readers in clarification.
First, it’s a sad story, whatever the details, whoever committed wrongdoing. I sympathize with all concerned, but especially the innocent children at the heart of the case.
Second, the item is news, and it is newsworthy (such sentencing details are clearly in the public interest). That’s our role, and that’s my job. So I won’t remove the article, which was prompted by a U.S. Attorney’s Office press release and relates directly to a Parker-area criminal case. Our ongoing mission is to give you, Parker Live readers, information and news on the Parker area, warts and all. So we’ll keep doing that, as other publications do.
Third, one thing is obvious from the messages I’ve received: many of his family members strongly believe he is innocent. This is ironic, considering that he pleaded guilty in federal court! But it does prompt us to ask the following question: Is it possible that someone who pleads guilty is actually innocent? Most people would think no. The answer, actually, is yes. Believe it or not, it happens, for various reasons. So it is possible that Gonzales did not commit the crime he pleaded guilty to, and is – as some of his family maintains – actually innocent. In a society where we forget the presumption of innocence easily, and forget the imperfect nature of our justice system, I always encourage Parker Live readers to reserve judgment for that reason. Of course he could be absolutely guilty too. I have no idea.
So, whether you have an opinion about the case or not, I’m passing along to you readers both the strength of this family’s persistence in this matter, whatever it might mean, and an affirmation that this website will continue to deliver news as fairly as we can.
Thanks for being part of our community.