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Togiak village police officer charged with sexual abuse of minor

Suzanna Caldwell

A recently hired village police officer in the Southwestern Alaska village of Togiak was charged this week with sexually abusing a minor in a city vehicle in October.

Daniel A. Gonzales, 22, was arraigned in Dillingham court Saturday for felony sexual abuse of a minor in the second degree. Gonzales, a village police officer, had been hired by the city of Togiak on Oct. 12 to serve as a village police officer, according to KDLG public radio.

Village police officers are separate from village public safety officers and Alaska State Troopers. While they can receive training from troopers, they are hired independently by the communities they serve.

According to charging documents, the 16-year-old girl reported to troopers Oct. 29 that Gonzales sexually assaulted her in his official patrol vehicle in mid-October.

According to the report, hours after picking the victim up and giving her a ride as part of his official VPO duties, Gonzales texted to ask if she wanted to ride around the village. She accepted, and Gonzales picked her up in his official work vehicle, wearing his uniform. The trooper dispatch notes that Gonzales was off-duty. According to the victim, the two then drove away from town to a secluded area, where Gonzales sexually assaulted her.

The victim told troopers that after the incident, Gonzales sent text messages to her apologizing for what he did and asking her to meet for more sexual activity. She said she later deleted the messages at Gonzales' request.

Gonzales later admitted to having sex with the girl in the VPO vehicle, but told troopers the sex was consensual.

Gonzales was arrested Friday and transported to Dillingham Correctional Center for arraignment Saturday. Bail was set at $10,000.

Togiak is a Yup'ik village of about 850 people located about 68 air miles west of Dillingham. Reached Wednesday in Togiak, City Administrator Darryl Thompson had no comment.

Contact Suzanna Caldwell at suzanna(at)alaskadispatch.com. Follow her on Twitter @suzannacaldwell.