Ex-UTSA librarian guilty of taking funds

by: Tom Bower
San Antonio Express-News
Web Posted: 03/04/2005 12:00 AM CST

A former University of Texas at San Antonio librarian was found guilty Thursday of stealing more than $200,000 in a case described by prosecutors as a story of "greed and misplaced trust."

Sentencing for Gloria C. Gonzalez was set for April 4.

The jury of eight women and four men had a range of offenses to choose from, including four lesser crimes, but convicted the 35-year-old librarian of theft of more than $200,000, a first-degree felony. Jurors deliberated about four hours.

Gonzalez could receive probation or could be sentenced to prison for five to 99 years or life, and receive a fine of up to $10,000.

Prosecutors Miguel Najera and Brad Balderrama said they plan to seek restitution of the $208,736.29 in library fines, interlibrary loan fees and fees for lost books that a UTSA internal auditor testified were stolen by Gonzalez over a six-year period.

"If the judge is going to grant her probation, we want (restitution) to be a condition of probation. If the judge sentences her to prison, we want it to be a condition of parole," Najera said.

Earlier in the day, jurors returned with a verdict stating Gonzalez was guilty of both theft and misappropriation of fiduciary funds. But the jury's instructions, from 399th District Judge Juanita Vasquez-Gardner, had called for them to pick just one offense, so jurors were sent back to resume deliberations and clarify their verdict.

"It was clear that the jury did not understand the charge," said the defendant's husband, Stephen Gonzalez. "A mistrial would have happened in any other court. We will be appealing."

Until sentencing, Gonzalez will remain free on $35,000 bond.

Defense attorneys Nelson Atwell and Robert Valdez said Gonzalez made the frequent deposits into her checking account from the proceeds of her in-home business selling interior decorating products.