By Paul Anderson
A Santa Ana man who molested two female relatives and raped a third — and claimed during trial testimony that one of his victims was a “slut” who had molested him — was sentenced today to 157 years to life in prison.
Samuel Gonzalez, 48, was convicted Nov. 14 of forcible rape, 11 felony counts of lewd acts on a child younger than 14 and a misdemeanor count of sexual battery.
Jurors also found true multiple sentencing enhancements for substantial sexual conduct and multiple victims.
During the sentencing hearing, Orange County Superior Court Judge Steven Bromberg told the defendant, “You, sir, are a sexual predator — make no mistake about it.”
Bromberg noted that three weeks after one of his victims gave birth to Gonzalez’s child, he took the infant away from her as she was breast feeding and raped her one last time.
“You told the jury (the victim) was a slut and that she molested you,” Bromberg said. “And when the prosecutor asked you how could you say that, you, sir, said, ‘Because that’s what she is.”’
The judge added, “The only thing you didn’t say was she wanted to be pregnant.”
Bromberg ordered Gonzalez to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.
The victim who gave birth to the child told the judge how saddened and angry she has felt over the years.
“But I’m here today to say that you can no longer hurt me,” she said. “I am going to move on. … He hurt me in so many ways. No one should live the way I did as a child. … I don’t want that man to ever get out of prison. I don’t want him to destroy my daughter’s life. I have a beautiful family now and I don’t want it to be destroyed later on, by his cruelty.”
The victim also read a letter from another victim asking the judge to keep Gonzalez in prison for the rest of his life.
“You’re a monster,” the victim said in the letter. “I would take two years off your sentence if I could beat you up so you could feel what I feel. … You no longer own me. You’re not worth a second more of my time.”
The abuse dates back to 1991 but did not come to light until April of 2011, when the family lived in Lake Elsinore and a 19-year-old relative came forward to claim that Gonzalez fondled her breast, Deputy District Attorney Keith Burke said.
“I woke up to someone touching me and that was (the defendant),” the now-20-year-old woman testified. She said she dashed out of the house, got in her car and drove around all night. Two weeks later, she reported her allegation to police.
Her sister subsequently told investigators the defendant began abusing her one day when she was 8 years old and watching TV, Burke said.
“After that, the abuse continued and at first it was intermittent,”
Burke said, telling jurors that it happened an average of once or twice a month for the first few years.
“By the time she was 11, it was constant, a daily occurrence,” the prosecutor said.
When the girl was 13, she got pregnant, he said, adding that Gonzalez took steps to try to terminate the pregnancy.
The prosecutor said Gonzalez gave the girl tea that he thought would induce a miscarriage, but that didn’t work.
“He took her to a clinic, but he didn’t have the money,” Burke said. “When he took her back, they said she’s too far along and they would not do it.”
Gonzalez left the clinic and drove the girl to a remote area and put his hands around her throat, according to Burke.
“She was in complete despair and didn’t even resist,” Burke said. “But he ultimately let her go.”
When they got home, Gonzalez called a family meeting and told his wife and the rest of the family that he had impregnated the 13-year-old, Burke said.
There were complications with the birth and the girl needed a Caesarian section, according to Burke, who said Gonzalez told social service workers that a boy in Mexico impregnated the teen.
DNA tests established that Gonzalez fathered the baby, and Gonzalez also admitted to Santa Ana police under questioning that he was the father, according to Burke.
The defendant also molested a third young female family member “to a far lesser degree” on at least three occasions, Burke said.