Former Olympic boxing champ Paul Gonzales pleads no contest for molesting 2 girls

Carlos Granda Image
Wednesday, October 20, 2021
Ex-Olympic boxing champ pleads no contest for molesting 2 girls
Paul Gonzales, the 1984 Olympic boxing champion, was sentenced to more than three years in jail for molesting two young girls.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Paul Gonzales was a hero in East Los Angeles after he won a gold medal in the 1984 Olympics for boxing. On Tuesday, he was sentenced to more than three years in jail for molesting two young girls.

Gonzales pleaded no contest to a pair of child molestation charges in court. The East L.A. native was sentenced to three years and eight months in prison, minus time served. He was accused of committing lewd acts with two young girls, including his 14-year-old niece.

The cases go back to 2017. Gonzales was a youth boxing coach for L.A. County Parks and Recreation at the Eddie Heredia Boxing Club on East Olympic Boulevard. That's where detectives say he met his victims. The first one was 13-years-old.

Lorraine Leal, who is the grandmother of one of the victims, went to court Tuesday for the sentencing. Her granddaughter was also there, but was too distraught to speak in court.

"It's not fair. She's a child and he did this to her in. She expected to learn," Leal said.

When Gonzales was first arrested, a GoFundMe page was started and community members raised $50,000 to bail him out. He was then re-arrested for molesting a second victim, his 14-year-old niece.

"She trusted him, she trusted him, she would say 'Mom, I want to do boxing can you get me in there?' I said yes," Leal tearfully said. "And it's heartbreaking seeing her looking over her back all the time, thinking that he's going to come."

Gonzales could have faced 18 years in prison, but the District Attorney's Office cut a plea deal. He pleaded no contest and will serve about three and a half years.

The victim and her family feel that's not enough.

"He's going to do three years, come out and act like nothing happened? No it's not fair," Leal said.

The D.A.'s Office has not responded to a request for comment about the plea deal.

Gonzales is now considered a Level 1 sex offender. So, after his release he will have to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.