• California sheriff: 'Screw-up' behind release of molester

    Updated:
    MERCED, Calif. (AP) - A California sheriff says a "screw-up" led to the mistaken release of an inmate who had pleaded guilty to child molestation.

    The Merced Sun-Star reported Thursday that Merced County jailers mistakenly allowed 38-year-old Primitivo Gonzalez to post bail on Nov. 22.

    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

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