Sacramento Bee

July 11, 2002








































Man guilty of bigamy, molestation, spouse abuse


By Gwendolyn Crump

A 48-year-old man was convicted Wednesday in Sacramento Superior Court of bigamy, spousal abuse and molesting a daughter of one of three women he was living with.

The jury of 10 women and two men, however, found Luis Alberto Gonzalez not guilty of three counts of spousal rape and deadlocked on a single charge of stalking.

The prosecution said that Gonzalez had two marriage certificates from El Dorado County for two different women, and he had live-in relationships with four other women under ceremonial "marriage" covenants.

The prosecution said California law allows prosecution for bigamy even without proof of a legal marriage.

"He was a con man and a predator," said the woman who accused him of rape and is the mother of the then 11-year-old molestation victim.

"I would like to see Mr. Gonzalez spend the rest of his life in jail," she said.

Gonzalez, who remains in custody with no bail, faces 59 years and four months in prison at sentencing Aug. 9 before Judge Trena H. Burger-Plavan.

Gonzalez was arrested after one of the three women he was living with at the time accused him of raping and stalking her in 2001.

Gonzalez testified he believed in the former Mormon tenet of plural marriages but denied the rapes and molestation.

He testified that he had lived with the same three women for two years, along with their 15 or so children, in a rented home in Orangevale.

The group shared house chores, and a calendar was kept so that each woman knew when it was her time to spend the night with Gonzalez, witnesses testified.

Deputy District Attorney Nancy Cochrane told jurors that Gonzalez ruled the home with an iron hand. No one could leave without his permission, she said.

The prosecution said Gonzalez became physically violent with the accuser.

The prosecution said that Gonzalez told people he was a bishop with the Mormon Church and was later excommunicated when the church learned of his multiple wives, but that was never substantiated.

He later formed his own church, calling it Jesus Christ of the United World Order, Cochrane said.

Defense attorney Laurance Smith told jurors that the three women involved in the case at first liked the living arrangement. The defense said a photograph taken that autumn showed Gonzalez and the third wife smiling together on a sofa.

Even after the house they lived in was sold, the group stayed together and for several weeks lived at a campsite along Folsom Lake, evidence showed.

"The whole case revolves around jealousy and rivalry," Smith said outside court Wednesday.

Smith said that the other two women contradicted the alleged rape victim's accusations.

As the verdict was read, Gonzalez sat in the courtroom shaking his head, which was hung low.

Jurors said afterward there was not enough evidence to back up the rape charge.

One juror said she could understand how the lifestyle and Gonzalez might intrigue a young mother who was alone.

But, she said, "The people involved made some bad decisions and should have done more thinking."

Al Locher, a veteran Sacramento prosecutor, said he is unaware of anyone ever being convicted of bigamy in Sacramento County.

In Utah last summer, Tom Green, a man with five wives and 30 children, was sentenced to five years in prison in Utah's biggest polygamy case in nearly half a century. Green was convicted last month of child rape for impregnating one of his wives-to-be when she was 13 in the mid-1980s.



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