Fired Yuma School Guard Rejects Sexual Misconduct Plea Deal

Lizbeth Gomez-Coronel [Photo courtesy Yuma County Sheriff's Office]

A former high school security guard has been ordered to appear in Yuma County Superior Court in July after a judge rejected a plea deal that guaranteed the 31-year-old woman would not be sent to prison for sexual conduct with an underage student.

Lizbeth Gomez-Coronel was arrested in August 2019 and later indicted by a county grand jury on three felonies, including sexual exploitation of a minor and sexual conduct with a 15-year-old male.  She entered a guilty plea on Dec. 3 to one count of sexual conduct with the student as part of a negotiated plea agreement with the Yuma County Attorney’s Office.

That plea deal contained a stipulation ensuring Gomez-Coronel, 31, would not be sentenced to prison. However, she was allowed to withdraw from the agreement Jan. 21 when Judge Brandon Kinsey announced he would not agree to be bound by the sentencing stipulation.

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Under court rules, the case was then removed from Kinsey’s courtroom and is now assigned to Judge David Haws. Efforts have been underway on a second plea deal that would acceptable to all parties and avoid forcing the victim to testify in open court.

Scheduling delays, including some caused by COVID-19 precautions, have kept the case from being set for a trial. But on May 19, Haws ordered the parties back to court July 15. In the meantime, Gomez-Coronel remains out of custody on $50,000 bail.

Public records show a personal relationship apparently started between Gomez-Coronel and the student in late 2017, but the sexual misconduct purportedly didn’t occur until months later. School officials terminated the security guard’s employment shortly after learning of the charges.