Nancy Gonzalez was a guard at New York’s Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC) when she became pregnant with a prisoner’s baby. The father Ronell Wilson was convicted in 2006, of the point-blank shooting of two undercover policemen. Ms. Gonzalez pleaded guilty to the charge of illegal sexual contact with an inmate and was eventually convicted to a year in prison. In her defense Gonzalez disclosed that she also had sex with at least eight other co-workers, two whom were supervisors, and one other prisoner.
MDC warden Frank Strada insists that Gonzalez’ behavior was an isolated incident. In a letter to the Judge Strada wrote that Gonzalez “knowingly placed her own personal desires above her professional duties. Ms. Gonzalez’s betrayal has left many of her former co-workers feeling confused, angry, and less safe in their daily job.”
American University law professor and corrections expert Brenda V. Smith disagrees. She says that Gonzalez’s actions suggest that her behavior was not uncommon at the MDC facility. “I’m sure there are correctional officers who were not so surprised by her conduct. She just happened to be the one who got caught,” said Smith.
Defense attorney Anthony Ricco characterized his client as suffering from an extreme personality disorder fueled by “deep-seated emotional shame and guilt” stemming from being sexually abused as a child. According to the memo Ms. Gonzalez’s troubled behavior was readily evident to her employers at the time she was hired in 2009.
According to court records Ms. Gonzalez began having sex with Wilson in March 2012. After she walked her rounds on the 4 p.m.-to-midnight shift in K-81 unit the two would meet in an empty room next to his cell. Ricco’s memo posits that Ms. Gonzalez had “a misguided emotional belief that being impregnated by Ronell Wilson was providing him with a lasting purpose to his otherwise tragic and dysfunctional life.”
Wilson was removed from MDC and sent back to death row.
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