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DC Public Schools teacher accused of raping woman he promised to teach English

Rudy Gonzalez (Montgomery County Police Department)

A D.C. Public Schools teacher promised to help a woman learn English and assist in her quest for U.S. citizenship, but instead raped her to the point she needed reconstructive surgery, Montgomery County Police allege in court documents obtained by ABC7.

Last Tuesday morning, an employee at the Wendy's near the Westfield Wheaton Mall found a woman lying unconscious in a patch of decorative bushes outside of the fast food restaurant.

Medics took the woman to Adventist HealthCare Shady Grove Medical Center in Rockville where staff performed a sexual assault forensic exam. That test revealed multiple cuts and hematomas around and within the woman's genitalia, which required surgery. Additionally, there was significant bruising on the woman's breasts and her body was generally sore.

"As of [11 p.m. Wednesday, the victim] was still in surgery due to the severe nature of her injuries," detectives wrote in court documents, noting that the wounds were noticeably fresh.

The victim would later tell investigators that she had met a man named Rudy Gonzalez at her place of work. Gonzalez, who is a native of El Salvador, had suggested he could help the woman learn English and obtain her U.S. citizenship. Eager for the assistance, the woman agreed to meet Gonzalez at the Wheaton Mall. The 47-year-old reportedly took the woman to his home along the 3300 block of Pendleton Drive, a short one-mile car ride away.

The woman told police that although her memory was fuzzy, she vividly recalled Gonzalez serving her a few "unidentified beverages" in his living room. Those drinks caused her to pass out, and consequently, black out. The woman’s next recollection was waking up to Gonzalez shaking her body around 7 a.m. the following day. She was in his bed, fully naked.

"[The victim] felt extremely disoriented and had intense pain in her lower belly, vagina, anus and breasts," investigators wrote in court documents. "Gonzalez handed her clothing to her, which he stated he washed for her."

Detectives spoke with the victim’s brother who described the angst he felt when his sister did not return home on the night of Oct. 8, which she had planned to do. Instinct led the man to track his sister's cell phone to Pendleton Drive in Wheaton, but he did not know which residence she was at. He gave up and returned home, assuming she was not in dire straits.

Gonzalez agreed to share his side of the story with police. As he explained it, he and the victim tossed back numerous shots of tequila at his home. He had five, and she had seven. Gonzalez stated that while the victim appeared inebriated, she "willingly participated" in a variety of sexual acts, including intercourse. Gonzalez further detailed helping the victim shower three separate times to rid her body of blood, semen and vomit.

"Gonzalez stated that throughout the night he was worried that [the victim] might accuse him of raping her due to her intoxication level," detectives jotted down during the interview. "He woke her up in the morning and dropped her off at the Wendy's located at the Wheaton Plaza at her request."

Within a day of that sit-down meeting, authorities charged Gonzalez with second-degree rape, third-degree sex offense, first-degree assault and second-degree assault. All told, the four charges pack a punch of up to 65 years in prison.

During his bond review last week, a prosecutor with the Montgomery County State’s Attorney’s Office stated, “This is one of the most violent rapes the state has seen in some time.”

Gonzalez’s defense attorney highlighted that his client is a U.S. citizen, has no criminal record, owns his own home and has a successful professional resume. He also pointed out that Gonzalez’s sister and two friends were seated in the courtroom as a show of support.

“Even though my personal behavior is being questioned at this moment, I have been a good member of this society and community,” Gonzalez told the judge. “I have never had any problems before… I want to face whatever’s coming and to prove whatever is necessary to prove my innocence.”

Gonzalez went on to state he is the sole breadwinner for his family, and thus, ought to be out of jail to pay for the mortgage, groceries, utilities and other life expenses.

“I need to make sure my kids have support, financial support, emotional support, and with me being here, that cannot be provided.”

Montgomery County District Court Judge Patricia Mitchell went against the prosecution’s request to deny bond. Instead, she granted Gonzalez a $50,000 bond. Two days after his arrest, he posted 10 percent ($5,000) and was released from jail.

According to court records, Gonzalez has been employed with D.C. Public Schools for the last 21 years. He is currently a music teacher at Shepherd Elementary School, located along 14th Street, NW, just south of downtown Silver Spring. Court records indicate Gonzalez earns an annual salary of $87,000.

In a 2015 school newsletter, an advertisement asked for donations in effort provide all students with the chance to dabble in music. Gonzalez was behind that goodwill effort.

"Our talented new music teacher, Mr. Rudy Gonzalez, wants to give all Shepherd students the opportunity to play a musical instrument. To make that dream a reality, we need your help to purchase musical instruments," the bulletin read.

On Tuesday, a woman who answered the phone at Shepherd stated Gonzalez was not in and likely "would not be in for the rest of the week."

According to DCPS, Gonzalez was placed on administrative leave the same day allegations were first raised. DCPS promptly notified parents that a long-term substitute teacher would be filling Gonzalez's role, but the public-school system did not delve into details about the serious criminal allegations lodged against the 47-year-old.

In a statement released to ABC7 Tuesday, DCPS asserted it holds its “educators to the highest standards.” DCPS also vowed to send a more explanatory notice to the Shepherd Elementary School community regarding Gonzalez’s alleged conduct. ABC7 has requested a copy of that letter, but as of publication time had not received such a document.

Court records state Gonzalez is divorced and has three children. In 2016, a Prince George's County judge ordered he pay $900 per month and provide health insurance for one of his kids. The docket also noted Gonzalez was $1,800 behind in child support payments at that time.

"I am totally shocked, I can barely breathe,” said Gonzalez’s next-door neighbor, Vicky Wasmund. “This is someone who goes to church every Sunday.”

Wasmund explained Gonzalez moved into his Wheaton home a few years back amid his divorce. She always found him to be respectful, kind and attentive to community matters.

“I mean he’s never even talked about dating. I’ve never even thought of him being intoxicated,” Wasmund added while standing in her sunlit living room. “I don’t have one negative thing to say as far as any of his actions. I’m just totally blown away.”

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