An inmate who punched Lincoln Hills teacher Pandora Lobacz nearly a year ago learned his fate Monday.
Carlos Gonzalez, 17, was charged with battery by prisoners and faces an additional eight years in prison, in additional to the 10 years he has been serving for other charges.
According to court records, on Oct. 11, 2017, Gonzalez came into Lobacz’s room, angry and refused to follow her rules. The teen stood up and paced towards Lobacz’s desk before punching her in the face.
The records indicate another student in the room yelling, “Don’t do it,” and Lobacz yelling for someone to get Gonzalez out of her classroom.
Lobacz said she gave a victim impact statement at the sentence hearing on Monday to get a bit of closure but mainly to be a voice for the youth inmates, like the one who knocked her unconscious.
“Forgiving him is just another step in my closure to what happened to me,” Lobacz said. “My biggest concern is [the inmates] are not getting their needs met either at a therapeutic level or at a level where we can hold them accountable.”
Lobacz said she has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and is still not allowed back to work.
Despite not being able to help the inmates in the classroom, Lobacz said her situation could be a catalyst for trying to advocate change in the Department of Juvenile Corrections.
The D.O.C. released the following statement in response to this story, “We have and will continue to take necessary measures to protect staff and work closely with law enforcement and the district attorney to hold youth accountable for criminal behavior. The Department of Corrections has made dozens of significant changes to increase staff safety and enhance facility operations. We actively seek input from our staff to further boost staff safety and security and will keep building on the many positive changes as we implement Act 185, which will transform Wisconsin’s juvenile corrections system.”
Gonzalez’s attorney, Jessica Fehrenbach, told News 9 her client feels remorse from the situation. Fehrenbach said she believes the state of Wisconsin failed her client because he was never given the medicine her needed for mental illness.
In March, Governor Scott Walker signed a bill for Lincoln Hill and Copper Lake youth prison to close by 2021.