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Merced Sheriff released molester by mistake

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.

Posted: Dec. 7, 2017 4:27 PM
Updated: Dec. 7, 2017 4:27 PM

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.

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

Gonzalez had pleaded guilty to repeatedly molesting a 5-year-old girl. A judge had ordered him held without bail until sentencing.

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, saying he believed the man quickly returned to Mexico and is no longer a threat in Merced County.

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